Hospital campaigners from North Devon travelled to London on Monday to meet with MPs.

Save Our Hospital Services Devon (SOHS) and Save The Irreplaceable Torrington Hospital (STITCH) campaign groups visited the House of Commons this week.

Eleven MPs attended the meeting with representatives from hospital campaign groups nationwide.

Netti Pearson, from SOHS said: “We heard from campaigners how difficult it is to get council scrutiny committees to refer to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).

“Even when they do it’s just not working; the IRP don’t always receive all the evidence they need; they don’t respond in a reasonable time and sometimes not at all; they refuse to visit the referring bodies and to talk to the people who are suffering.

“Services are cut. Hospitals are closed. People are ignored.”

Netti said the meeting heard from MPs that campaign groups should continue to put pressure on their local MPs regarding healthcare issues.

She added: “The meeting went very well and it was good to hear the view from the MPs and to know that they think campaigners should keep on with what we are doing.

“It’s a shame that Peter Heaton-Jones did not turn up, although he was invited.

“This was just a first step. We now have a cross-country lobby group and will meet again.

“We want nothing less than an NHS for everyone, with the same treatments available for everyone wherever they are in the country.

“We want our hospitals to be accessible. We want a publicly-provided service that is delivered according to clinical need not ability to pay.

“Those who can stop the removal and degradation of our services can and must listen and act.”