Speaking after an urgent Westminster meeting, Peter Heaton-Jones says the community ‘simply won’t allow’ its services to be lost
North Devon is in ‘fighting mode’ against proposed NHS cuts, says the area’s MP.
Peter Heaton-Jones was speaking after attending an urgent meeting in Westminster with other Devon MPs, the health minister and senior NHS managers.
It follows the leak of the region’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) from NHS England which suggested acute services at North Devon District Hospital such as paediatrics, maternity and stroke could move to Plymouth and Exeter.
Mr Heaton-Jones said he made it clear cuts to NDDH services, especially maternity, could not be accepted.
He questioned travel times quoted in the report and highlighted the region’s geography and the transport problems it presented for patients.
He said: “I also made clear that North Devon won’t tolerate being treated as the poor relation any more; we won’t sit idly by and watch our services being taken away while resources are ploughed into areas south of the M5.
“NHS managers assured me nothing has been finalised, and described the leaked report as being a ‘work in progress’. They say a full public consultation will take place if any significant changes are finally suggested, and the process will be guided by local medical professionals.
“I was unconvinced. I followed up the meeting with a letter to the head of the Success Regime, making clear that North Devon is in fighting mode.
“The North Devon community will simply not allow our services to be ‘reorganised’ by NHS managers in this way.”
He said he had spoken to a leading community campaigner about ways to work together and would be applying pressure ‘behind the scenes’ at Westminster and Whitehall.