Leaked blueprint on future of hospital services is labelled ‘reckless’ by campaigners

The Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) Devon campaign has reacted angrily to the leaked report suggesting acute hospital beds and services could be lost in North Devon.

A draft copy of the Sustainability and Transformation (STP) plan outlines healthcare commissioners' vision to cut 590 acute beds by 2021 and move services such as paediatrics, maternity, neonatology, cardiovascular and stroke services to Plymouth and Exeter.

James Cragie, chairman of SOHS, said 'lives will be lost' if these cuts are implemented.

He said: "The suggestion that stroke services could be moved to Derriford Hospital from North Devon District Hospital is nothing other than reckless.

An estimated 500 people took part in a silent protest against cuts to services at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple on Tuesday morning. Picture: Tony GussinAn estimated 500 people took part in a silent protest against cuts to services at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple on Tuesday morning. Picture: Tony Gussin

"If maternity and paediatric services were to be moved to Plymouth, not only further endangering lives, it would also reduce the skills base of a vital and, currently, highly skilled Accident and Emergency service."

Mr Cragie said some of the most deprived areas in the UK were located in northern Devon, and that the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and CCG were 'literally playing with people's lives'.

He added: "The SOHS Devon campaign believes that we are seeing a deliberate strategy of underfunding the National Health Service to destabilise and demoralise staff for the purpose of further privatisation."

Last month hundreds of protesters gathered at NDDH to send a clear message to healthcare bosses that any cuts would be fiercely opposed.

Campaigner Netti Pearson added: "People are angry and wont accept these cuts."

What do you think?

What do you think about the proposed cuts to healthcare services in North Devon? Do you think moving services and cutting beds is the answer to plug the funding shortfall?

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