Axminster and Seaton hospitals' inpatient beds merger halted

Axminster Hospital
Image caption It was unclear when the inpatient unit at Axminster Hospital was due to reopen after the closure

Plans for a temporary merger of inpatient beds at two Devon hospitals have been halted, health bosses said.

Axminster Hospital's inpatient unit in east Devon was to close and merge with Seaton Hospital, eight miles (12km) away, it was announced in October.

A four-week consultation would now be carried out, the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust said.

The merger was due to patient safety risks after inspectors ruled there were not enough nurses for both sites.

'Great confusion'

Both community hospitals currently provide 10 inpatient beds and a range of other services.

From January, Seaton was due to host one 18-bed inpatient unit.

The trust said it was holding the consultation, until 30 December, because it had "become apparent .... that there is a great deal of confusion about the proposals and that we needed to do more to involve people in the decision we were making".

A public meeting would be held in January to discuss the consultation, it added.

The trust had insisted the merger would only be temporary, but could not confirm any end date for the arrangement.

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