THE MP for Central Devon, Mel Stride and Devon County Councillor Kevin Ball have both heavily criticised the consultation process put in place by the North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW CCG) regarding the future of community hospitals within the trust’s area.

The CCG is consulting on four potential options with Okehampton Hospital losing its in-patient beds in all four scenarios, meaning the nearest beds would be based in Tavistock.

The consultation is scheduled to run from October 7 for four weeks.

Mr Stride, who’s constituency includes Okehampton, said: “I have spoken with the Chief Executive of the CCG to voice my serious concerns that Okehampton Hospital is due to lose its beds without any public consultation.

"The trust has agreed to an urgent meeting with me to discuss the details surrounding this decision. I am bitterly disappointed that at least one of the four options that will be consulted on does not include beds remaining in Okehampton.”

Cllr. Kevin Ball said: “It is unacceptable to take beds away from a growing town. The options being looked at will mean the beds that are kept within the NEW CCG area will all be in the east of their patch resulting in much longer journey times for residents in and around Okehampton.

“And I 100 per cent agree with Mel that any consultation should consider all possibilities. We will fight as hard as we possibly can to keep the beds from disappearing.”

Within the NEW CCG area the four proposed options are having 36, 24 and 16 beds respectively at Tiverton, Seaton, Exmouth hospitals (option A), Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exmouth hospitals (option B), Tiverton, Seaton and Exeter hospitals (option C), and Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exeter (option D).

Whilst under the plans beds will be removed from various hospitals across the CCG’s area, no hospital is under threat of closure.

Alan Quick