Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A change of direction to save the hospital

AS MERVYN Symes says in his statement (see below) about the inpatient beds debacle at Axminster,  the fight goes on... but it’s likely to take a different direction.

There comes a time in any long running dispute like this when you have to put up your hands and say “we’ve done all we can”. 

The Axminster Hospital Action Group, backed by the League of Friends, are at that point but in true Axminster spirit they are not giving up.

The CCG, highly miffed by the extreme criticism they have taken, are not going to change their minds. They were particularly upset by our coverage last week, claiming errors of fact in the statement by Steve Holt, who has been the public face of Axminster’s fight to save their holidays. 

One sentence particularly upset them: “...at no time did the senior members of the CCG attend the meetings and showed no interest in the progress whatsoever”. The CCG Press department claims that it was “factually inaccurate” that CCG members did not attend meetings,

We offered the CCG space for another statement on this page this week to list all their grievances about our coverage and Mr Holt’s allegations but they declined.

It is significant that both MPs, Hugo Swire and Neil Parish, have come out strongly against the CCG decision but it would seem Axminster’s only hope is whether they can persuade Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene. As it’s Government policy to encourage the NHS to treat more people in their homes, that’s a long shot for sure. 

The Axminster campaigners are also hoping that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Trust will take over the running of the community hospitals in East Devon later this year and there might then be some room for manoeuvre with regards to a possible return of the beds.

The emphasis now must surely be on ensuring that Axminster Hospital without its beds has a future in the provision of health care in East Devon. It is, of course, one of the best equipped small hospitals in the area, thanks to the generosity of the people of Axminster and district.

Millions of pounds have been pumped into Axminster Hospital over the years by the League of Friends and organisations like the Axminster Hospital Cup. This was, in the main,  for the benefit and comfort of Axminster patients. 

Can we be assured that all the equipment they have bought over the years remains in Axminster? I think we know the answer to that one, don’t you?          
  • May I thank the community for supporting us. We have not given up the fight to have our inpatient beds reinstated at some stage. The Axminster Hospital Action Group feel that they have taken things as far as they can at present. Neil Parish MP as stated that the RD&E would be a more suitable provider. I hope that his discussions with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP are fruitful in taking steps towards achieving this goal. I also hope that Neil is able to instigate further discussions with the CCG, the League of Friends and the Medical Practice to be able to coordinate and take it to another level, as Axminster is a growing community with a number of housing projects rapidly increasing the town’s population, not the mention the surrounding villages. Please don’t think that this is the end of Axminster Hospital, the fight will continue.

Mervyn Symes

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