OKEHAMPTON’s Member of Parliament Mel Stride has pressed the Northern, Eastern Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group on the need to consult fully with residents and stakeholders in and around the town on the future of local healthcare services.

Mr Stride spoke to the CCG’s Chair Dr Tim Burke on Friday, June 30 after NHS Devon’s Clinical Review for Acute Services across Devon included the recommendation that midwifery-led births be withdrawn from Okehampton Hospital.

Dr Burke explained that the recommendation was solely based on a clinical assessment.

Mr Stride said: “I understand and appreciate that NHS Devon is making this recommendation solely from a clinical point of view and not as a cost-saving measure but the views of residents and stakeholders must be fully considered.

“Despite the CCG announcing in January that Okehampton Hospital will be retained as a Health and Well-being Centre and that local stakeholders will be able to have their say on the kind of services that are available, six months later no consultation has commenced.

“I pressed upon the CCG the importance of moving ahead with this as soon as possible and expressed my deep disappointment with the lack of progress.”

Okehampton’s Devon County Councillor Kevin Ball added: “Mel is absolutely right that local residents, the Hospital’s League of Friends and other stakeholders must have their say on the outpatient services that will be provided after the hospital becomes a Health and Well-being Hub and that local views are taken into account when the final decision is made on the future of the maternity unit.”

Alan Quick