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Carer denies swindling vulnerable pensioner out of thousands

Melanie Harris has denied stealing from a man she was supposed to be caring for. Credit: ITV News

A woman from North Devon has denied taking thousands of pounds from a vulnerable pensioner she was supposed to be looking after at a Bideford care home.

Melanie Harris is accused of using Edward Carter's bank account as her own, and taking more than £75,000 from it. The court heard that she used the money to fund shopping trips.

Cerebral palsy sufferer Mr Carter, who also had epilepsy and other serious illnesses, has since passed away, but the court was shown a DVD of his statement.

The trial continues.



Protest over ward closure within minutes of decision

Protestors calling themselves 'A March to Save Hospital Beds' have rallied outside Bideford hospital this lunchtime within minutes of the news that the impatient ward there is to shut.

It's after Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has a budget shortfall of £11 million Credit: ITV News

It's after a unanimous decision by board members of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust to close hospital wards in Bideford and Ilfracombe.

The protestors rallied within minutes of the vote Credit: ITV News

Doctors concerned over losing 'safety blanket' of community wards

Too much too soon?

The New Devon Clinical Commissioning Group which funds NHS services has told Northern Devon Healthcare Trust that it doesn't support its decision to close any wards or units as the process is happening too quickly.

Devon County Council's Health and Wellbeing scrutiny committee also voted 4-3 for a halt in the consultation process. But the decision on closure remains with the Healthcare Trust.

votes for and against halting the consultation process

Not enough beds?

Senior clinicians have also told managers that they have extreme anxiety about the closure of beds.

Doctors and consultants are worried that there are not enough beds at North Devon District Hospital and the community wards have been seen as a 'safety blanket'.

But health bosses believe that they will have strategies in place this winter to cope and that wards at Holsworthy and South Molton can increase beds at short notice if needed due to any crisis.

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