MEL Stride, the MP for Central Devon, held discussions with Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse Professor Em Wilkson-Brice and the Medical Services Integration Director Nurse Adel Jones on Friday, December 14, about the services being provided at Okehampton Hospital.

The trio discussed the progress that is being made in introducing the outpatient services that were promised when the trust took the decision to remove the inpatient beds from the hospital.

Mr Stride has previously criticised the delays in their delivery after he was told in October 2017 that an action plan would be made public in early 2018 before this was delayed until this summer and then delayed again.

After speaking with Professor Wilkson-Brice and Ms Jones the MP said he had pressed further for a time-lined plan for future new services to appear and had been promised that there will be a communications plan rolled out locally at the end of January highlighting the new services that are already in place along with details of the some of the further services to come.

He said: “There has been some real progress in increasing the provision of outpatient services at the hospital but I want to see more certainty around when further services are going to be in place. We need to see a shift from general aspiration to a clearer sense of delivery times.”

Mr Stride also caught up with Devon County Councillor Kevin Ball, who formed the Okehampton Health Partnership in response to the removal of the beds to ensure the Hospital stayed open and that the community had more of a say in the new outpatient services that are introduced.

Cllr. Ball said: “A thorough needs analysis has been completed and a new urology service is now providing nearly 700 appointments a year that would otherwise have required residents to travel to Exeter.

“We appreciate Mel’s continued support and are hopeful that January will bring more good news about new services.”