North Devon’s MP Peter Heaton-Jones said it was ‘welcome’ news to retain South Molton beds, but ‘disappointing’ to see Ilfracombe beds remain shut.

North Devon’s MP Peter Heaton-Jones has said he will be ‘seeking clarity’ on the decision to close hospital beds in Bideford and Ilfracombe.

Yesterday the Gazette revealed Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) board unaninmously voted to close inpaitent beds in the two community hospitals.

Beds at South Molton and Holsworthy will remain open.

Reacting to yesterday’s ‘mixed news’ for North Devon, Mr Heaton-Jones said: “Obviously it’s very welcome that the trust have decided to retain beds at South Molton.

“They have listened to all our lobbying and heeded the results of the public consultation, so this at least is a victory.

“However, confirmation that beds at the Tyrrell in Ilfracombe won’t be re-opening is disappointing, if not surprising.

“The beds were closed some time ago, long before I became the MP, and it was always very unlikely that they would be re-opened.”

Mr Heaton-Jones said the challenge now would be to ensure the Tyrell was used for other patient services, and that people in Ilfracombe could receive alternative care.

He added: “I’ll now be seeking clarity as to whether the Trust’s decision will go ahead, given that the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have been running a separate consultation process.

“There’s also an argument that these changes should be delayed pending implementation of the NHS Success Regime, which will shortly see a review of all healthcare services in our region.”

The CCG announced it had paused its consultation on providing care closer to home while NDHT ran its consultation on bed closures.