TWO campaign groups have condemned the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NEW Devon CCG) proposal to cut in-patient hospital beds.
In a joint response to the proposed closure of many of Devon’s community hospital beds, the campaign groups, Keep Our NHS Public and 38 Degrees, have attacked the proposals stating that bed closures on a major scale are a huge risk to take for an uncertain benefit.
The proposed closures are mainly in the east of the county but include Okehampton Hospital.
The model the CCG wishes to introduce replaces hospital beds with care in the community. However, the campaign groups said this re-configuration would be like rebuilding a ship whilst at sea, which is difficult at the best of times.
Spokesperson for the Tavistock Keep Our NHS Public group Martin Quinn said:’The NHS is in a crisis the likes of which we havent seen since the mid 1990s. The idea that the way to solve the problems it faces is to cut the number of hospital beds and dump patients on the social care system is madness.
‘The reason many patients cannot currently be sent home from hospital is because after real terms budget cuts of over 30 per cent in the past six years, there is no capacity in the social care system to deal with demand.
‘The scary thing is that the current proposals are just the tip of the iceberg. The NHS‘s draft Sustainability and Transformation plan for Devon published last November states that £557-million of expenditure cuts have to be made in the county by 2021.
‘To put that into context, the entire budget for Derriford Hospital is £425-million. Add to that the potential loss after Brexit of the 10 per cent of NHS doctors who are from the EU and the NHS we know and love will be gone.
‘Last year the Out of Hours GP bases in the Torridge and West Devon constituency were axed, in Tavistock and Bideford.
‘The responses from our MP and county councillors were at best half-hearted. Let us hope they will put up more of a fight to save our remaining NHS services.’
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