North Devon health boss quizzed in heated debate
- Credit: Archant
Health service campaigners and councillors hear the latest update on the controversial STP review of acute services
A packed meeting has been told ‘the baby will not be thrown out with the bath water’ when it comes to health services.
More than 100 people attended Monday’s executive meeting of North Devon Council at The Cedars in Barnstaple to quiz health boss Dr Alison Diamond on reviews of local acute hospital services.
At the end of the session, council leader Des Brailey read out a lengthy statement on the council’s position, which said it would not support any changes to health or social care services that would disadvantage the people and communities of North Devon.
Amid a barrage of questions from the public, Dr Diamond said the work being carried out by clinicians on the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) would take into account the distances patients needed to travel for health care.
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She said ‘they will not be throwing the baby out with the bath water’ and would be looking at what was needed for the population of Devon.
But the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust chief executive repeated the trust’s position that no decision had been made on any of the services under review, which include stroke, A and E, maternity, paediatrics and neonatology.
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“At the moment there are no plans, all they have identified is the challenges within the services,” she said.
There were a series of passionate questions from the public, with one of the biggest concerns being how patients would get to Exeter or Plymouth if essential departments in North Devon closed.
Dave Clinch of Save Our Hospital Services accused Dr Diamond of ‘trotting out vague generalities’. He said: “It is impossible for a stroke patient to get to Exeter and not be impaired for life or die on the road.”
A series of public discussion groups on the work done by clinicians so far are currently underway.,
There is one today (Wednesday) at Bideford College’s Stucley Hall from 6-8pm and another at Stanbury Hall, Petroc, in Barnstaple on Friday, March 17 from 11.30am-1.30pm.
People are welcome to attend but are asked to call 01392 267642 or email d-ccg.CorporateServices@nhs.net to register for a place.