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Protesters gather in vain save Community Hospitals

Protesters gathered outside a meeting of Devon health bosses this afternoon, in a final attempt to persuade health bosses to save community hospital beds.

But their calls were heard in vain as Devon Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to reduce the number of community hospital inpatient units from 10 to seven.

Community hospitals at Axminster, Crediton and Ottery St Mary will no longer have overnight inpatient beds, although Ottery St Mary Hospital will have 15 overnight stroke rehabilitation beds.

The move was made in an attempt to secure nursing care close to people’s homes and the Group says it will be a platform for further review and reform of community services, aiming to treat more people in their own home where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

The decision also means none of the community hospitals will close. Health and social care hubs with a range of outpatient services, day surgery and other health and social care services will be developed at hospitals without inpatient beds.

Protester Claire Wright has this to say:

The decision was taken at NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NEW Devon CCG) Governing Body meeting today.


Devon mother is a Mental Health Hero

A mother from Devon has received an award from the Deputy Prime Minister for her charity work.

Debbie Humberstone from Axminster was nominated as a Mental Health Hero by her daughter, who she helped through mental illness.

The award was in recognition of Debbie's charity, The Project, which tries to help young people with mental health issues by setting up a network to support those aged between 12 and 24.

We've got a team of volunteers and staff who all share my passion, and they all deserve this.

And the young people who we support, the one's who live with these issues and face them with such courage and determination - so the award is for them as well really.

– Debbie Humberstone, founder of The Project

The charity founder is one of ten winners from the region, chosen from 900 nominees.

Beds at Axminster Hospital to close temporarily

Axminster Hospital. Credit: ITV News West Country

It's emerged beds at Axminster Hospital will now close temporarily.

They'll be moved to Seaton Hospital seven miles away. The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has suspended a court order ruling against any closures - because of concerns over staffing and safety. A legal challenge will be held in court next month.

Judge rules on hospital beds at Axminster

Health bosses had hoped to close 10 beds

A judge has ruled that NHS managers can't close inpatient beds at Axminster hospital in East Devon before a court hearing is held next month.

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust had hoped to move the beds from Axminster to Seaton.

The original 12 week consultation period ended in December.

Hospital beds merger halted

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has apologised for failing to consult people about Axminster Hospital Credit: ITV News

Health chiefs in Devon have apologised for failing to consult people about a decision to move beds from one hospital to another.

There was an angry reaction when it was announced that the in-patient unit at Axminster Hospital would be temporarily closed and moved to Seaton Hospital eight miles away to cope with nurse shortages in both sites.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has now halted the move and has started a four-week public consultation over whether the transfer should take place.

We know that within Devon and nationally we have significant staffing deficits, particularly with the nursing workforce, so on a daily basis we need to ensure we have the right staff in the right place to be able to give the right level of care to our patients.

What we clearly haven't done is we haven't been able to express to the public the clarity in the situation that we face.

This process intends to look at how we can get active dialogue to look at the problem we have and what solution we can get to in terms of what future for the hospital could be.

– Rob Sainsbury, Director of Operations, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust


Firefighters tackle blaze at luxury carpet factory

Around 25 firefighters tackled blaze at Axminster Carpets in Devon Credit: ITV News West Country

Three people were treated in hospital yesterday (Tues) when a fire broke out at Britain's most famous carpet makers.

Around 25 firefighters battled the blaze at Axminster Carpets which has been weaving rugs for expensive hotels and royal residences since 1755.

The flames erupted on the ground floor of the firm's Devon HQ and several workers were rushed to hospital.

Axminster Carpets went into administration in March last year and 300 people lost their jobs.

However a consortium bought the company out and hired new workers after securing lucrative new orders.

They included making carpets for the US House of Representatives and a hotel owned by Donald Trump.

"The cause of the fire alarm activation was a fire which had broken out in one area of the plant.

"The cause is not yet known and will be investigated with the fire officer as soon as access is granted into the affected area.

"All staff were immediately evacuated from the site as soon as the alarm sounded.

"Three members of staff were taken to hospital, one suffered from a minor burn to his hand and the other two were checked for smoke inhalation as a precautionary measure.

"All three have been discharged from hospital."

– Axminster Carpets spokeperson

Devon smoker quits after 50 years

Ann Veit finally managed to quit thanks to a stop smoking clinic at Axminster Medical Practice Credit: Northern Devon Healthcare Trust


By Claire Hayhurst, Press Association

A pensioner has finally kicked her 50-year-long smoking habit - after lighting up 750,000 cigarettes.

Ann Veit, 68, from Musbury, near Axminster in Devon, smoked around 40 cigarettes each day from the age of 15.

She attempted to quit smoking three times over the 50-year-period, trying hypnosis, acupuncture and patches.

However, the retired information systems manager eventually managed to give up in March, after attending a weekly NHS stop smoking clinic. She is being supported to quit with the use of patches and an inhaler.

Mrs Veit, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has already seen significant improvement in the function of her lungs.

Carbon monoxide levels in her blood reduced from 26 parts per million (ppm) to just three in one week - the same levels as a non-smoker.

After a serious bout of pneumonia, which left me in hospital, I realised I must stop or I wouldn't last long.

Breathing is easier, I've got more energy, my self-esteem has improved and I no longer feel like a pariah.

I can also see the financial benefits - I've got more money in my purse at the end of the week.

It is hard, but never quit quitting. If I can do it after 50-odd years, there is hope for everyone.

– Ann Veit, Former smoker

The clinics are run at Axminster Medical Practice every Friday, along with three sessions a week in Honiton, Devon.

Serious accident at Axminster

Two people have been seriously injured in a road crash in Axminster.

Bristol Air Ambulance has taken one casualty to Frenchay Hospital.

It happened on the B3261 between the A35 and Axminster, at around 7.45am today.

The road is closed from the off-slip on the A35 and the start of the B3261, to the end of Axminster roundabout near the train station.

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