NHS cuts in Devon: ‘If these services end my boys will for certain die’

The proximity of North Devon district hospital to Anne-marie Wiles’ home – it is less than five minutes away – is crucial.

Her twin sons, Jed and Peirce, were given just six months to live after being born with multiple complex health needs. They are now doing well, aged 16, thanks in large part to the efforts of a loving family, but also the dedicated staff at the hospital in Barnstaple.

“I intentionally live opposite the hospital because when the boys stop breathing there is not enough time to call an ambulance,” said Wiles. Jed has been resuscitated three times at the NDDH and both have been nursed countless times at the Caroline Thorpe children’s ward.

She is one of thousands who have joined marches, written to local MPs, organised benefit gigs, signed petitions over the Wider Devon STP – sustainability and transformation plan – which is proposing radical changes to healthcare in the county.

If the plan comes to fruition in its present form, 600 community and acute beds across this sprawling, largely rural county will be gone within five years.

Full story in The Guardian, 18 November 2016