VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Protesters rally against Torrington Hospital bed closures
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people marched through the town with placards and banners protesting against the pilot scheme set to launch on September 1.
“SAVE our beds” was the cry from hundreds of protesters who rallied in Torrington this morning (Sat) against proposals to close inpatient beds in town’s hospital.
Earlier this month the Gazette revealed the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and the local clinical commissioning group (CCG)’s plans to close 10 of the beds at the cottage hospital.
The Transforming Torrington Together scheme will see the beds close from September 1 in a six month pilot period, with in-patients being cared for at home.
Today protesters gathered with signs and banners in the Square at 11am and after a series of speeches were led by the town crier and town band to the hospital.
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More than 300 people then stood outside of Torrington Hospital where they sang Amazing Grace and showed their support for the facility which has stood in the town for more than 100 years.
Shirley Bere, a retired healthcare assistant who lives in the town, dressed in a hospital gown and took up residence in a bed in the Square before the protest made off.
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She said: “I feel very angry at this whole situation; I feel it’s just a ploy to close the hospital altogether which is what they have wanted to do for some considerable time.
“It’s very unfair because they are not consulting local people.
“They are saying if people need to go to hospital they can go to Bideford or Holsworthy.
“But most of the people in there are normally elderly and frail – how are their husbands or wives supposed to get there to visit them?”
The protest rally was organised by Margaret Brown, the local town and district councillor.
Cllr Brown said she was delighted to see the Square already brimming with people supporting the protest before the clock even struck 11am.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to take action,” she said.
“Why was there no consultation with Torrington people at all?
“Care in the community never works – we have examples of that – these beds should stay open.”
Richard Rumbold, treasurer of the Torrington Hospital league of friends, said he was ‘absolutely shell-shocked’ when he heard news of the closures.
He said: “I had only just written out a cheque for money the town had raised for a bed at the hospital and then I hear this.
“We have thousands-of-pounds people have fund raised for the hospital; it is totally demoralising to now hear this after all that work.”
For more reaction from the protest pick up a copy of Wednesday’s North Devon Gazette.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Follow the protest action by watching the video above, or see more photos by clicking the gallery in the top right of the page.