Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Another twist in this tale

GREAT disappointment in Axminster that despite herculean attempts to make the North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust see sense, the decision was made to temporarily transfer all in-patient beds at Axminster Hospital to Seaton.

Great anger as well – especially over the manner the NHS Trust meeting was conducted last week, with a number of claims of the discourteous manner in which campaigners were treated. 

Following the four-page supplement on the fight to save the Axminster beds in last week’s Pulman’s View, this newspaper has been accused of showing bias towards Axminster. 

What we failed to make clear, and I apologise for this, was that the four pages were paid for as an advertisement and the content submitted was not written by our own editorial staff.  

However, I don’t think any of the content was overtly critical of Seaton and it was made clear that the best solution would be to return both Seaton and Axminster hospitals to 16-beds apiece. 

This column has repeatedly stressed that no one wants to see a battle between two admired and well run hospitals so in the final analysis I reject the complaint that there was any great bias towards Axminster.

It seems ironic to me that whilst elsewhere the National Health Service is on the point of collapse, there are three very fine local hospitals (Ottery included) that are underused and could be taking the pressure off the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

The argument that has prompted the temporary closure of the Axminster beds that it’s difficult to get staff is proving to be a bit of a red herring. As reported in our front page, several qualified medical staff have come forward to say they are prepared to work at Axminster and this has led to the NHS Trust setting up a committee to urgently look into  staffing matters. 

This in turn has given the local campaigners the hope that the decision to transfer the ten beds from Axminster to Seaton to can be reversed whilst the battle to save the long term future of the beds continues.

So there may well be another twist in the sad tale.

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