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Senior children's doctor sacked after charges of indecent images of children

A senior children's doctor has been sacked from a hospital after being charged with offences relating to indecent images of children.

Jonathan Walsh, 46, was a consultant paediatrician in the children's and adolescent services department of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust.

He was suspended from his role in July, but has now been permanently fired after he was charged with seven counts of making and distributing indecent images of children.

He is due to appear at Barnstaple Magistrates Court on July 15.

At the launch of the police investigation in September 2015 we took immediate action to exclude Dr Walsh from working at the Trust and informed the General Medical Council. It is our understanding that none of these charges relate to contact offences and none of these images relate to patients at NDDH.

As of 15th June 2016 we dismissed Dr Walsh from our employment with immediate effect.

This news has deeply shaken our whole team at NDDH and we know it will also shock the community.

– George Thomson, Medical Director for Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

A specialist phone line has now been set up to deal with any concerns.

The number is 0300 123 1744 and is open from 9-7pm weekdays - with a recorded message at weekends.


'Leave community hospitals alone': Carer's fears over NHS proposals

Winnie Hollingsworth and her husband Ian don't want others to be in their situation. Credit: ITV West Country

A carer from Torrington told us she is extremely concerned about proposals to close wards at community hospitals across North Devon.

Winnie Hollingsworth cares for her husband Ian who suffered a stroke after a triple heart bypass operation. But Torrington's community hospital has already lost its inpatient beds due to a previous round of cuts, so Ian has to have a hospital bed in the front room of their terraced house.

Mrs Hollingsworth believes that if more inpatient beds are lost across the district then more people will be faced with the same situation that they're suffering.

Statement on maternity services

The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group has issued the following statement in response to criticisms over funding of maternity services.

We are pleased to have provided an extra £1.1 million on top of the nationally agreed ‘Payment by results’ tariff for maternity services.

This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the best possible services can be provided to new and expectant mothers in north Devon whilst also helping the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust through a transition period.

A review of the model of maternity care is currently being undertaken and we will want assurances from the trust that it is designing services of the highest quality possible for expectant and new mothers as well as during labour.

– Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG


New budgets hit maternity services in North Devon

The Trust says around £1.1 million will be cut from its budget from the contract by the newly established Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

This is in line with changes to the national tariff which came into effect in April.

The loss of this level of income will inevitably call for a redesign of services.We know this won’t be easy to achieve and we will need all the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment of our clinical staff to secure the best outcome for the families we serve."

– Jac Kelly, Chief Executive, The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

The scale of the changes and the fact they have to be introduced immediately isn’t ideal. Some of the changes bring us in line with the model of care in other parts of the country. However, there will be service changes we would otherwise not have been planning to undertake."

– Jac Kelly, Chief Executive, The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust

Midwife home visits in North Devon to be cut

The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is cutting maternity funding by 20%.

It says it will have to reduce home visits for mums apart from in exceptional circumstances.

The new doctor-based group that funds the Trust says it will give an additional one million pounds this year to smooth the transition but the Trust says it still won't be able to provide the same service.