1. ITV Report

Health campaigners: Hospital closures will lead to 'patient deaths'

Protestors say the proposed closure of beds at 3 of Devon's community hospitals will leave patients and staff with a system that will result in patient deaths.

The 71 beds that would be lost under these proposals by the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group are at Honiton, Seaton and Okehampton - in favour of keeping beds at Exmouth, Tiverton and Sidmouth.

Beds that will be lost. Credit: ITV West Country
beds would be lost under these proposals.
Beds that will be retained. Credit: ITV West Country
Credit: ITV West Country

The Clinical Commissioning Group say among the reasons for the cuts, is their argument that in many cases patients are better cared for in their home. They also say that once an investment has been made in community care provision, they'll make a saving of between £2.8 and £5.6million.

But these protestors say the hardest hit by such closures would be Devon's older population.

The three community hospitals to be closed. Credit: ITV West Country

Campaigners say with the number of older people in Devon set to more than double in the next two decades - to cut beds would be 'short sighted'. They also suggest the money the CCG says this move may save the NHS, is exaggerated.

Credit: ITV West Country

Overall, protestors say because they do not see these proposals as being in the best interest of the Health Service, they're calling on Devon County Council's Health Scrutiny Committee to over-ride this decision - and use its legal power to refer this to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Credit: David Mirzoeff / PA

But the Devon health committee has voted against sending plans to close 71 community hospital beds to the Secretary of State for Health to be reviewed.

The vote was seven to six against the referral, with one abstention, during a meeting of Devon County Council's Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee at County Hall in Exeter.