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  1. ITV Report

'It makes me feel a little bit disgusted' - more protests at planned hospital closures

More than a thousand people are expected to march through Barnstaple in protest at proposed cuts to hospital services across the entire county.

What began as a local campaign to try to stop maternity, stroke, and A and E services from shutting, has now been widened to the whole of Devon.

I've been talking to one family who are shocked at the proposals and say without the hospitals, their children may not have survived.

Dante is as bright and energetic as any young boy should be but he came desperately close to dying from Sepsis.

With the air ambulance already in use and his family stuck at Hartland Quay an emergency journey by road to the children's ward in Barnstaple was the only option for his survival.

Mum Chiara is now horrified that draft NHS proposals have suggested closing paediatrics including special care in North Devon.

It's not the first time the family say they've been thankful for a specialist children's unit in Barnstaple.

Scarlett was born three months premature, only slightly bigger than a £20 note.

It makes me feel a little bit disgusted at how they would have that idea to close it down, it's just I don't see the point of closing it down because it just makes things harder for everyone else.

– Scarlett Wise

Small scale protests have taken place so far including outside of the NHS Success Regime where the reorganisation of the NHS across the whole of Devon are being drafted.

A leaked copy of the Strategic Transformation Plan proposing large cuts to North Devon District Hospital, the closure of 600 hospital beds and centralising services in Plymouth and Exeter will see a mass protest in Barnstaple.

Ian Williams, Campaign Organiser, Save our Hospital Services

Protestors will be drawn from across the county and further protests are planned in South Devon where community hospitals including Paignton are threatened with closure.

Do you ever hear any complaints about Paignton hospital, and the answer is no you don't, and actually I don't think I've ever heard any complaints about Barnstaple either.

What they're trying to do is for reasons which nobody understands is actually to kill off the golden goose, the hospitals that are actually working and put more pressure on the hospitals that are not.

– Matthew Clarke, Spokesman Paignton League of Friends

And the loss of 600 beds includes hospitals in East Devon such as Seaton and Okehampton where further protests are also planned.

Devon County Council have recently cut some of our bus services, if you're to go from here to Exeter to Sidmouth what's that going to take you, four hours to get there on the bus and four hours back.

People just aren't going to be visited and how as an elderly person how on earth does the NHS expect someone to do that.

– Rev Mike Davies, Campaign Organiser, Save our Beds Okehampton

The NHS says all of these proposals are just that proposals and people are and will be consulted before decisions are taken.

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