• Hugo Swire: Claire Wright has twisted my words over hospital bed cuts

    3rd October 2014 | News | Claire

    Matt Woodley: Well listening to that, is the Conservative MP for East Devon Hugo Swire.  Hugo good morning I know Ottery St Mary one of the hospitals affected in your particular constituency.
    Are you concerned that beds will go at Ottery?

    Hugo Swire: Well I think the thing to remember is that this is the start of a consultation period which lasts until mid December and of course the proposals are that Sidmouth and Exmouth in my constituency will retain their beds. Budleigh of course is doing something different, it is being transformed into what they call a health and wellbeing hub that won`t have any beds.

    But Ottery is the one which will be losing the minor injuries unit and the beds and that is causing local concern as you can imagine and rightly so.

    MW: What are your constituents saying about it?

    HS: Well they are very unhappy, if you take away or you are perceived to be removing local services from a local community, the local community reacts accordingly. Obviously it does, so I need to get back to the CCG and find out the methology(sic) that they have gone through to suggest that Ottery needs to change.

    But look I take a much more optimistic view about all this, I totally understand the reason that the demographics are changing, people are living much longer, the direction of travel is to treat more people at home that is shown to be what people actually want, so we have a real opportunity to turn these community hospitals into something more relevant where the local community can do different things in them, dementia clinics and so forth, and really make them come alive again, and I think what I am optimistic about is that this report has shown once and for all that they understand the importance of community hospitals in the community, they are incredibly well supported.

    MS: But if you live in Axminster Hugo, and yes people do want to stay in their own environment and stay at home, but if you have a serious illness or you need to go and have an overnight stay the last thing you want to do if you are in Axminster is get in a car and spend an hour getting into Exeter.

    HS: Well that’s right and Axminster is not in my constituency so I would let others…..       
    MW: No, but its one of the hospitals affected by this which you think is a good idea

    HS: Indeed but I`m talking about my constituency and the one affected is Ottery St Mary
    MW: But you`ve said this whole policy is positive    
    HS: Well no I`m saying I think it is positive because its recognizing two things. One is its recognizing the importance of community hospitals to the community, and there`s always been a shadow and a question mark over the community hospitals and people have been whipping up excitement about them closing completely, and this shows that there is no intention of doing that.

    The second thing is it does provide the local communities to get more involved to provide different services as communities as people live longer and things like dementia clinics in Budleigh Salterton of course that’s been already transformed into a health and wellbeing hub without any beds

    And the second thing is the treatment of people for minor injuries is being concentrated, now that of course again causes some concern but if you look at the underlying reason for that, that is to make sure that these clinics can stay open on more regular hours so they can be accessed. At the moment it is pretty hit and miss if you can get treated or not. But by concentrating the services people will know the times when they can be treated.

    But at the end of the day I think that this is not a time to whip up excitement locally, I think the time is to reflect on what is being suggested, and actually to go back to them, particularly as I say in my case on Ottery St Mary to find out the methology(sic) they have arrived at which says that the beds should go from Ottery, and that I will of course be doing.

    MW: And you`ll be doing that during the consultation. I know the consultation lasts for 12 weeks. Hugo many thanks. Hugo Swire, MP for East Devon