Devon

Torrington Hospital bed closure plans protest

Torrington Hospital Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption All 10 beds at Torrington Hospital could be closed as the NHS plans to treat more people at home

Dozens of people turned out to protest against plans to close beds in community hospitals across Devon.

About 270 organisations and individuals have submitted views on NHS plans to reorganise community health services in the county.

The protest took place at NHS offices in South Molton where a committee was considering the impact of the plans.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) proposes providing more care at home.

Campaigners say inpatient beds at places like Torrington Community Hospital are "vital".

The report suggests closing inpatient beds and minor injuries units at some of the area's 19 community hospitals.

It does not say which hospitals will be affected but Torrington is expected to be included.

'Hospital at Home'

Those hospitals would become so-called health and wellbeing hubs, offering more day services and clinics. This is already happening at Budleigh Salterton and Moretonhampstead Hospitals.

Image caption Dozens turned out to protest against the proposed bed closures
Image caption Protesters claim inpatient beds are vital in the community

David Clinch, from campaign group Save the Irreplaceable Torrington Community Hospital, said: "We believe in care at home but we also believe the trust should retain the beds because both types of care are needed.

"In end-of-life care the hospital beds have been used for many years. We see those beds as being vital. We want enhanced care and the 10 beds retained."

Many of those who responded to the CCG's consultation welcomed the chance to stay at home for their care, and supported more integrated healthcare and personalised healthcare budgets.

Ottery St Mary Town Council wrote: "We do question whether 'Hospital at Home' is a viable concept where there is no person in the home effectively to provide 24/7 patient support.

"It does seem clear that community hospital beds will continue to be needed in increasing numbers as the local population ages."

The CCG's governing body will meet on Wednesday to discuss how the feedback can be incorporated into its plans.

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