Protest to be held over planned Devon hospital closure

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RESIDENTS who live around Ashburton and Buckfastleigh are gearing up to demonstrate against the proposed closure of their local community hospital.

Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Hospital is one of four South Devon community hospitals proposed to close in this round of cuts to local NHS services that also includes bed closures elsewhere and suggests that patients be cared for in the community instead.

The demonstration will take place on January 21 at 10am at the community hospital.

Buckfastleigh Town Councillor, Andy Stokes, said: “This is just one part of the series of ongoing cuts to our NHS which are bringing the health service to its knees and endangering patient’s health and lives.

“Instead of providing proper hospital care the CCG is proposing that patients be cared for at home or in care homes. Given the state of the Social Care sector and experience elsewhere, this is a sure recipe for sick and elderly people to end up dying alone and abandoned at home. It is clearly being done to save money and not in the interest of our health.

“Under this government and the last, NHS investment has gone from a six per cent annual increase to around one per cent – not even enough to keep up with growing inflation, let alone deal with the increased demands of an ageing population and the costs of paying shareholder profits to the increasing number of private contractors now delivering our health services.

“As local people, we would like to see our community hospitals recognised as an invaluable part of patient care and receiving investment instead. The government need to change their priorities and start putting people’s health first.

“Both Buckfastleigh and Ashburton Town Councils are opposed to the proposed closure and have expressed this in the strongest terms to the CCG, but unless we are determined to fight for our health services, they will be cut from under us.”

The South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commission Group meets to decide the future of this and the other hospitals on the January 26.

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