Four community hospitals in South Devon recommended for closure

Paignton, Dartmouth, Ashburton and Bovey Tracey community hospitals will all close. Credit: ITV News

Four community hospitals have been recommended for closure in an attempt to save millions of pounds for the NHS, the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group has announced.

Over the last three months the public have been asked for their views on the future of hospitals in Paignton, Dartmouth, Bovey Tracey and Ashburton & Buckfastleigh.

On Friday it was announced - they're all likely to close.

It's a bitter blow to the hundreds of campaigners that have organised marches and public meetings in an effort to stop the closures.

Campaigner Sheila Rzepka said: "They haven't got the staff that they need now. So once they start closing these hospitals it's going to get much worse. Where are the staff going to come from?"

Pat Harris from Healthwatch Torbay added, "We're living through very difficult times with the NHS at the moment with the austerity cuts, the social care cuts. But actually there's a real need for people to be looked after and looked after well."

The health managers say this is not about cost cutting but about how more people receive the care they need.

They claim community hospitals are costly to run, so if they are taken out of the equation, more funds can be invested in improving the quality of care in people's homes:

"We mustn't forget that actually, the vast majority of money saved will be reinvested in providing support for patients in their own homes" said Dr Dave Greatorex, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group.

A final decision on the closure of the hospitals will be confirmed next week.