BARNSTAPLE MAYOR SAYS A&E CUT IS “TERRIFYING PROSPECT”

BARNSTAPLE MAYOR SAYS A&E CUT IS “TERRIFYING PROSPECT” Barnstaple Town Council has reacted swiftly to news reports that cuts to services at North Devon Hospital may be on their way.

Media reports have emerged in recent days raising the possibility of major reductions in health provision at the hospital, including speculation that accident & emergency, maternity, stroke and children’s services could be threatened. This followed publication of a report by the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) called ‘Case for Change’, which highlighted a £440m funding shortfall across the NHS in North, East and West Devon.

A consultation is due to start in May, and the CCG has said that “…this will begin by looking in detail at the issues the Case for Change has raised.”

Town Mayor Cllr Mrs Val Elkins said “We know that the NHS in Devon is in financial difficulties, but any suggestion of cuts in services like accident and emergency and maternity is a terrifying prospect. The CCG’s report doesn’t specifically say that this is the case, but it would be reassuring to the community in North Devon to hear the idea being ruled out to avoid unnecessary anxiety. We live in a remote area with very limited transport links, and it would obviously be life-threatening if people had to travel as far as Exeter for emergency services. For stroke victims, early intervention produces better and quicker recoveries and it is distressing to think that treatment could be delayed. It would also be a huge disadvantage to North Devon’s residents’ health if other non-emergency services were moved away from our wonderful local hospital. The CCG needs to think too about the amazing staff at the hospital, and about the economic impact of removing jobs and services from the area.”

The Town Council is seeking urgent clarification of the news reports. Town Clerk Will Austin said “Understandably, councillors and local residents have been contacting me with grave concerns about the media reports. The Town Council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on 9th May, and I have invited the CCG to join us at that meeting. As with all of our meetings this will be open to the public and I would encourage residents to attend. I have also offered to arrange a further public meeting so that the CCG can give a full explanation of what is at stake, and so that people have the opportunity to get the information they need before a consultation starts.”

 


 

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