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Widower calls for hospital beds to be saved after kindness shown to his dying wife

Kerstin Burge from Sidmouth died from cancer in July this year Photo: Family

A widower has been so moved by the care given to his dying wife at their community hospital in Devon - he's calling on the NHS to keep beds open there.

A public consultation has just started over the future of services at Sidmouth hospital. It's scheduled to lose all its inpatient beds if the proposals are approved.

Its one of many community hospitals across the South West that are under threat at the moment because of the need to save money.

Kerstin Burge Credit: Family

Kerstin Burge from Sidmouth died from cancer in July this year. Her final hours were spent in her local hospital with medical staff on hand and her family around her. Her husband Nigel says that's exactly the way she had wanted it to be.

Now the hospital which cared for her is under threat as part of a wider NHS consultation on care in Devon.

Nigel Burge, Widower

I was allowed to spend her last night on this earth with her, sleeping in the next bed and she died the following day at about 1 o'clock, holding hands with our two children and it was just ideal. She felt secure there.

I just want them to throw away the accountancy figures and just think about people. We're supposed to live in a kind, caring community and we seem to have lost the kindness.

– Nigel Burge, Widower

If the preferred option being planned is accepted Sidmouth hospital will lose all of its inpatient beds. The the other option being considered is to remove beds from Seaton hospital.

Sidmouth Hospital

Doctors say there are sound clinical reasons to adopt this new model. They say when it is safe to treat a patient at home it could lead to a much more responsive service:

We recognise the changes we are proposing will prompt difficult debate but we firmly believe the options in the consultation represent a real opportunity for us to improve care.

– Angela Pedder, Chief Executive

The consultation runs until the 6th of January. Click here for more information on the options being considered.