North Devon Council calls for ‘flawed’ NHS reviews to be cancelled, while Ilfracombe is facing ‘a thousand cuts’

Campaigners gather in Barnstaple for North Devon Sees Red Day. Picture: Tony GussinCampaigners gather in Barnstaple for North Devon Sees Red Day. Picture: Tony Gussin

Pressure continues to grow from all sides for the NHS to cancel the 'flawed' reviews that could see North Devon District Hospital lose vital services.

The region is facing twin reviews by the Success Regime and the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) as the NHS tries to make savings of £440million.

Last Wednesday, North Devon Council voted almost unanimously to approve a motion from opposition leader Councillor Brian Greenslade to cancel reviews that he says are 'fundamentally flawed'.

An STP report in November confirmed a review of stroke, maternity, paediatrics, neonatology and A&E will run until March.

But Mr Greenslade cited a £226m difference in funding per year between Devon and Cumbria.

A motion of his was approved by the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee of Devon County Council, calling on the Secretary of State for Health and NHS England to put the process on hold.

This will go before county's cabinet in December, as will a motion by Cllr Frank Biederman, expressing the council's 'deep concern' and calling for fairer funding.

'A thousand cuts'

Ilfracombe Town Council has written a letter to Prime Minister Teresa May with its concerns. In it, Cllr Netti Pearson says the town is 'in danger of dying from a thousand cuts'.

She writes: "Our district hospital has suffered from years of under-investment and has difficulty recruiting staff; some service provision has been moved to Exeter, over 60 miles away."

She calls for more investment in local clinical services in Ilfracombe and a properly funded district hospital, since the town has one of the lowest life expectancies in Devon.

She calls for investment in clinical services in the town and a well-funded district hospital.

The council heard from Tyrell Hospital League of Friends secretary Terry Elliott, who revealed the town had lost out on a bid by local GPs for government funding to provide a health hub of services.

This would have included outpatient, minor surgery, mental health and other health services, but despite the town's low life expectancy and high levels of deprivation, it lost out.

She said: "I think it's a feeling that we never win in any kind of competitive bidding system, but we have the greatest health needs, it does not make sense."

* NEW Devon CCG is bringing its Your Future Care roadshow to Bideford, on December 8 (Caddsdown Business Support Centre, 2-4pm); Barnstaple on December 8 (Guildhall, 6.30-8.30pm); Ilfracombe on December 14, (Landmark Theatre, 11.30am-1.30pm); South Molton on December 14 (Methodist Church Hall, 6-8pm); and Holsworthy on December 22 (Memorial Hall, 9.30-11.30am). Register at www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk