27 November 2016
North Devon Council (NDC) has united to deliver a simple message to the NHS – cancel the review that could see North Devon District Hospital lose vital services.
The region is facing twin reviews by the Success Regime and the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) as the NHS tries to make savings of £440million in Devon by 2020.
An STP report in November confirmed that a review of stroke, maternity, paediatrics, neonatology and A&E will run until March 2017.
But cllr Greenslade believed the two reviews were ‘fundamentally flawed’, citing a £320m difference in funding between Devon and Cumbria - a county of a similar size.
He said: “We are getting considerably less for our NHS services in North Devon.
“Had we got the type of funding that should be there, we then need to get to the bottom line of whether there is a deficit or not before we look at reducing services.”
The motion was seconded by NDC leader Des Brailey, who said: “I am quite happy to write a letter to the Minister for Health requesting he cancels this and make the point we are underfunded – we know it, and our MP knows it.
“We need to make a clear point to the minister for health and say it is not fair.”
The motion led to councillors expressing concerns about the distance and travel time to services in Plymouth and Exeter, as well as the impact on families of those in need of services.
Cllr Frank Biederman said: “I find it an insult to our intelligence that they call it the success regime. It is going to mean cuts and it will have a severe impact on North Devon.
“It is great to hear support on both sides – this is a fight for our community and we are all in this.”
NDC’s lead members for health, Dick Jones and Brian Moores met with Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust in November and said the council ‘does not, now, or at any time in the future, support or condone the consolidation and removal of services’.
Dr Diamond assured the public that no decisions had been made on cutting North Devon’s health services in an open letter.
The letter came three days before North Devon residents gathered in thousands last month to protest the proposed cuts with the North Devon Sees Red Day.