Trust to ‘thoroughly review’ public consultation on Torrington Hospital bed closures

Protesters at the rally organised to oppose the bed closures last month.

Protesters at the rally organised to oppose the bed closures last month. - Credit: Archant

A public meeting on the proposals was postponed on Saturday as Trust reconsiders public consultation.

PLANS to close the inpatient beds at Torrington Community Hospital and care for patients at home could come under further public consultation.

The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust cancelled a public meeting on Saturday after hearing the ‘powerful feedback’ from the community.

A statement issued by the Trust said it would be ‘thoroughly reviewing’ what further public consultation it should take, and what the next steps should be.

Jac Kelly, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “I apologise to anyone inconvenienced by our decision to reschedule the public meeting.

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“It was a very difficult decision to make as it goes against the grain to avoid an opportunity to engage and communicate with the local community.

“However, we heard the powerful feedback and the concerns about the project and we understand that we needed to reconsider our approach to consultation and engagement.

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“We know patients want care closer to home and our community teams will continue caring for patients in their own home.

“We are really keen to hear from the public in advance of the pilot to ensure that not only do they help shape the way the pilot runs, but also influence how we judge the success of the pilot.”

Last month hundreds of residents gathered to oppose the proposals which would see 10 inpatient beds close from September 1 as part of a six-month pilot period.

Torrington’s mayor, Cllr Harold Martin, said: “I am delighted that the CCG has seen fit to propose that the pilot is put on hold for the moment to allow a full and frank consultation.

“I am not yet convinced that people can be taken care of fully in their home without the need for some inpatient beds in Great Torrington Hospital. I would like to thank everyone who helped to achieve this outcome.”

MP Geoffrey Cox also joined the fight this week, meeting with Trust officials and the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

He said: “While I appreciate that some future change may be necessary, it is essential that, prior to the suspension of the beds, full and proper consultation should take place with the community, which has not happened.

“I have strongly emphasised that in the meantime the beds should remain open for admissions.”

The meeting has been rescheduled to 6pm at The Plough on September 12 but the open days at the hospital every Friday from 10am until 12pm are still going ahead as normal.

Further updates are expected from the Trust over the next few days and will be reported on the Gazette website.

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