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Councillors furious after ‘sham’ town hospital closure consultation

Seaton residents are angry after the shock decision to close the beds at the town’s hospital.

Seaton Hospital League of Friends chairman Dr Mark Welland called the decision “tragic” and said the town had been singled out for a “particularly cruel act”.

Town and district councillor Peter Burrows said people could “die prematurely”.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Governing Body of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) last Thursday (March 2nd).

The CCG’s original preference was to keep beds in Tiverton (32 beds), Seaton (24) and Ex- mouth (16).

But following public consultation and further analysis, it was decided that beds should be kept in Tiverton (32), Sidmouth (24) and Ex- mouth (16).

MP Neil Parish said: “The CCG have bull- dozed through these proposals after a sham consultation.”

He attended an emergency meeting at Seaton Hospital with the League of Friends the day after the decision, and is seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP.

Shortly after the decision was announced, Dr Welland said: “Seaton has been singled out for the particularly cruel act of only being in- formed at the eleventh hour that the CCG had changed its mind on the initial proposal, and decided to close Seaton beds in favour of Sidmouth.

“Whilst there is no appetite for wishing to see beds shut in Sid- mouth, it is right to question the process taken to arrive at this decision. The reason given for the change from the initial plan of having beds in Seaton was the slightly larger and older population of Sidmouth.

“This again takes no account of the fact that Seaton Hospital has been very effectively serv- ing the populations of Seaton and Axminster since the Axminster beds were closed.

“What is clear is that the impact of the consultation exercise was precisely zero.

“The League of Friends will again be seeking the support of Neil Parish MP to apply political pressure to reverse this tragic decision on hospital beds in East Devon.”

Town and district councillor Peter Burrows also attended the meeting, and said: “The meet- ing was a rubber stamping exercise as the decisions were on the chairs as we went in, decided at a meeting in February.

“I came away with no faith in the CCG and I expect patients to die prematurely if there is not adequate staffing put in place, which it seems we have not been guaranteed.”

Town councillor Martin Shaw, speaking in his capacity as an Independent East Devon Al- liance candidate for Seaton and Colyton in the forthcoming county council election, said: “The decision makes a travesty of the public consultation.

“Everyone in Seaton and the surrounding area must now unite, regardless of any political differences, to demand that the CCG rescinds this decision. I trust that there will soon be a meeting of Seaton Town Council to discuss the way forward.”

He also mentioned the possibility of seeking a judicial review of the decision.”

Article originally published by View News

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