• Ottery Hospital supporters seek judicial review over bed closure decision

    28th August 2015 | News | Claire
  • James Goddard, who has led the Ottery campaign from the beginning, said “we must demonstrate to the CCG and others involved in taking decisions which ignore the wishes of local people and undermine their interests, that they are blatantly wrong. Community hospitals must be saved, not least to prevent bed-blocking and Black Alerts at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital. The closure of the Minor Injuries Unit means that people will have to travel further, thus creating additional demand on hospitals already under pressure from those who are ill.

    “We have done all we can so far and owe it to the 2,000 people who signed a petition in favour of sustaining Ottery Hospital to take this important step. We not only strongly disapprove of the outcome but also feel profound dissatisfied with the CCG process which led to this decision.

    “Indeed, many of us believe that the decision to close the inpatient beds was taken before the “consultation”. One scenario in which more money would be spent on local hospitals still saw the Ottery Hospital lose all its inpatient beds. A report from the Stakeholders Group, set up by the CCG, recommended a positive change which would have allowed all inpatient bids in the five hospitals in the local area to remain. However this study was ignored. The CCG also failed to send it to the Devon County Council Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. So we are doing all we can to mobilise support from the local MP, councils and other groups. This might well be our last chance to save our hospital.”

    The intention is to demonstrate that the decision was not in the public interest and that the process was flawed. The group, backed by professional experts, is considering how best to proceed in the limited time available to activate a request for a review and some considerable preliminary work has already been done.

    Meanwhile, the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee of Devon County Council (of which I am a member) will examine the decision to close hospital beds in East Devon at its meeting on 14th September. It is hoped that many members of the public, from the affected areas, will attend this session, which begins at 2pm.

    Philip Algar, a fellow campaigner on behalf of the hospital, said that if many local people attended this meeting, it would show the committee the depth of feeling and the importance of sustaining the inpatient beds and minor injuries unit locally. “As the population of Ottery is expected to increase by a quarter in the near future and Cranbrook continues to expand, we cannot understand why it is necessary to close the facilities at a modern and geographically well-located hospital. The “justification” offered by the CCG flies in the face of common sense and defies logic.“

    To ensure that as many critics of the CCG attend this important meeting, a coach has been arranged for those in Ottery who wish to go to County Hall. It will leave the Land of Canaan at 1pm and will call at the British Legion Hall in West Hill at 1.10.

    Those who wish to book a free place on the coach should ring John Giblin on 01404 815815 or email him on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).