CENTRAL Devon MP Mel Stride visited Okehampton Hospital on Saturday, July 15 where he met with representatives of the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Okehampton Hospital to discuss future service provision.

Mr Stride has been vocal in his criticism of the CCG and its lack of engagement with local Okehampton stakeholders regarding the services that could be introduced locally as part of the hospital’s designation as a Health and Well-being Centre.

Mr Stride’s visit to the hospital followed his recent discussions with the Chair of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Tim Burke.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Stride said: “It is essential that residents in Okehampton and the surrounding area are properly and fully-consulted on future services and the CCG agreed at the meeting that this must now be a top priority.

“Cllr Kevin Ball has organised a meeting locally for Tuesday, July 25 which is a start but I made it clear to the meeting that we need to see the CCG demonstrating a far more energetic approach to engagement than we have seen to-date.

“There is the potential for some really positive new services for local people but I want to ensure that the community is given the opportunity to play its part in shaping them.”

West Devon Borough Councillor Mike Davies, who has campaigned alongside Mr Stride for improved local health services, said: “Mel is right that we need a proper consultation with residents and stakeholders to begin as soon as possible.

“When the inpatient beds were recommended for closure, there was very limited opportunity for local input and it is essential this doesn’t happen again.”