Impassioned plea to save Sidmouth’s inpatient beds on eve of consultation deadline

Chair of hospital’s comforts fund implores health bosses not to ‘kill off voluntary sector’ and disregard £5million of community contributions.

The chairman of Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund has made an impassioned plea for health bosses to save ‘vital’ inpatient beds, writes Eleanor Pipe.

Graham Vincent handed over a petition signed by 6,600 people opposing the proposals on the eve of a consultation deadline. He appealed for decision-makers not to disregard the £5 million that Sidmouth residents have contributed to their hospital.

Speaking at a public meeting last Thursday, Mr Vincent told the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) governing body that there will always be a need for community beds.

Mr Vincent said: “We have got the support from the community in Sidmouth.

“We have many concerns with the consultation document – it is not clear how your savings can be achieved. I understand that some patients recover more quickly in their homes, but we live in an area with the most elderly and dementia-ridden population in the country. Our Prime Minister said communities need to be more involved and not so reliant on the state. In a community that has contributed £5 million to its hospital, we must be a good example. Be very careful not to kill off the voluntary sector which has been the backbone in much of what we have inherited.” The CCG is now making the next step towards implementing changes that could see the number of inpatient beds in East Devon cut by 54 per cent.

Full Story in East Devon 24, 13 January 2017