Health bosses vote to permanently close Torrington hospital beds

Torrington hospital bed campaigners make their voices heard before this morning's meeting in South M

Torrington hospital bed campaigners make their voices heard before this morning's meeting in South Molton's Assembly Rooms. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

Campaigners react angrily reaction to decision taken in South Molton this morning (Wednesday).

Torrington Hospital

Torrington Hospital - Credit: Archant

Health bosses have voted to permanently close inpatient beds at Torrington Community Hospital.

A unanimous vote taken this morning (Wednesday) ends months of uncertainty surrounding the future of 10 overnight beds in the town.

There was angry reaction by members of the public following the meeting held in South Molton’s Assembly Rooms.

The Northern Devon locality board of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (New Devon CCG) approved two recommendations.

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Hospital beds will now be decommissioned with immediate effect and patients will be treated in their homes.

The CCG will also begin redeveloping the hospital as a ‘community health hub’ with a range of services currently only offered in other towns such as Barnstaple.

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Yesterday, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust agreed it would provide community services to people in Torrington using the CCG’s new ‘enhanced model of care’.

New Devon CCG northern locality chairman Dr John Womersley told fellow board members: “This is a very challenging issue but we have enough evidence here; we have to make a decision as to whether these beds stay or not, and whether we support the development of community services.

“In Torrington, what we know is that we need an average of 2.5 community hospital beds at any one time.

“The cost of providing the nursing care for those patients would be phenomenal and the health pound would be better spent looking after those patients in the community, rather than in hospitals.

“No one system is perfect but the simple fact is that it costs half as much to look after patients in the community and that is what this evaluation is all about.”

But Torrington resident Mike Lamprey argued: “They have destroyed a system that worked and introducing one that has yet to be proven, for zero financial gain.”

More reaction to come.

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