Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Is this postponing the inevitable?

THE sorry story over funding of our local hospitals was summed up by the Mayor of Axminster, Councillor Jeremy Walden when he said: “It’s a sad state of affairs when NHS services have to be paid for by a charity.”

He was referring, of course, to the decision of the League of Friends’ offer of £100,000 a year for three years to keep the wards at Axminster Hospital open after it was rumoured that the NHS planned to close the remaining ten beds.

The question everyone is asking is: “What happens after three years?”

The NHS has refused to respond to the offer from the League of Friends but a statement is expected tomorrow (Wednesday).

The real fear, of course is that if they accept the offer, will they be postponing the inevitable” - the ultimate closure of the hospital?

The Friends have already sunk millions into Axminster Hospital over the years and whilst £300,000 will not clear them out of funds, it will be a huge dent in their resources .  

Much of their cash comes from bequests from people who have received excellent care at their local hospital. These would certainly dry up if the wards are closed.

The medical professionals in the town are concerned that once the wards are shut they will never re-open and then other facilities at the hospital will decline to a point it is no longer viable to keep it open.

The more than generous offer by the League of Friends shows how strongly the people of Axminster feel about the retention of their hospital.

Funding the wards for the next three years will at least give the doctors and the League of Friends time to investigate other funding options.

These are worrying days for Axminster with the threat to the future of the town’s excellent and well patronised library and the closure of the county council-run youth club.  

Losing our hospital is not an option that the townsfolk want to contemplate and it is to be hoped that tomorrow’s expected statement will offer some clear intentions and not be clouded by the usual NHS-speak about working with the community, etc etc.

THIS week we had been hoping to welcome our readers to Axminster Guildhall for our Showcasing Axminster exhibition. Unfortunately, we had to pull the plug on it a couple of weeks ago due to lack of support.

The idea was to showcase all aspects of life in Axminster – in the workplace, social and sporting activities and community.

We received good support from local organisations and charities but very little from the trading community which rendered the idea financially unviable.

We are sorry that we were unable to deliver on this occasion but would like to thank the staff at Axminster Guildhall who did all they could to accommodate the event.

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