The sustainability and transformation plan, which unbelievably, wasn’t going to be published until January, leaving very little time for the public to give their views on plans, also states that if nothing changes the NHS in Devon will be £572m in the red by 2020/21.

Up to 900 staff may have to change role and there would be an 11% cut in nursing and medical workforce spend as well as management and admin.

Derriford hospital in Plymouth would be a fixed point for emergency care, paediatrics, neonatology, consultant-led obstetrics and strokes because it is the designated Major Trauma Centre for the region. The Royal Devon and Exeter hospital is favoured as a second site for maternity, paediatrics and neonatology.

My understanding is that the document was submitted to NHS England for its consideration, in June.

That’s three months ago, why on earth it has been kept so secret from residents (and councillors including those like me on the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee)?

As an Ottery councillor I am very worried indeed now, for Ottery Hospital’s future – and the impact that so many acute and community bed closures in general will have on patient care all over the county. There is simply not enough care available in people’s homes to cope with such drastic cuts.

Paid care workers are in short supply and care packages to enable patients to be discharged are taking far too long. Devon County Council care homes have closed due to austerity measures and the drip drip of community bed closures over the years, along with the increase in the numbers of older people with complex health needs has taken its toll.

The fact that the NHS is massively underfunded should not mean that patients have to suffer.

Government ministers should be ashamed of themselves for presiding over such appalling cuts.

The RD&E has around 800 beds, which puts the proposed acute bed losses into perspective.

The plan comes before Devon’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee on Monday 19 September, at 2pm.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

If you wish to address the committee for a maximum of three minutes, please register with Gerry Rufolo first at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Pic:  Addressing residents concerned at the threat of NHS Property Services to Ottery Hospital, in May