1,000 signatures reached
To: Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health; Alison Diamond, CEO NDHT; Peter Heaton-Jones MP, North Devon.
Save North Devon District Hospital's Services
We want the withdrawal of any conditions which might force the closure of services at North Devon District Hospital. We want the Government to fund the hospital and the NHS sufficiently to provide safe, accessible and comprehensive care.
Why is this important?
Devon healthcare is being placed under special measures, to cut a predicted financial shortfall of £440m by 2020. Government identifies the position as an overspend. Special measures for reducing this overspend, drawn up in guidelines titled the Success Regime, are set to re-configure services at many Devon hospitals. North Devon District Hospital, in Barnstaple, is the largest in North Devon, currently with elective and acute services. The Success Regime does not rule out that Acute services of A&E, Maternity, Stroke, and Paediatrics could disappear. Senior figures in the local healthcare system have said it is extremely unlikely that these services would be withdrawn but at the same time we have been told that "there are no red lines" meaning that anything could happen. NHSEngland is trying to push changes through as fast as possible. If these services are lost, local people would have to travel to Exeter or Plymouth for treatment. For very many these hospitals are over an hour or more away; very serious complications and deaths could and would occur.
Even if acute services are maintained, despite plans to increase care at home, other services will doubtless also be affected meaning unacceptable wait and travel times for routine surgery such as hip and knee replacement
Cross-party Campaigners against such closures read the situation as underfunding rather than overspending and are protesting the loss of services vitally important to the region. Because of its rural nature Devon is suffering more than most, but cuts like these are taking place across the country. We want Government to re-think their health care strategy which at present is far from clear and transparent, with NHS England taking funding from budgets for public health, education and training, capital spend and national bodies such as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). Spending in these areas is being cut by more than £3 billion over the next five years with very little information on how this decrease in spending will be managed.
Rather than cutting vital services and thereby opening the door for privatized health care, the government should be having free and frank discussion about increasing funding for healthcare to include such measures as an hypothecated healthcare tax, more efficient tax collection, compulsory insurance contributions and taxes on harmful products like tobacco and sugar.
A Protest DEMONSTRATION, drawing a RED LINE around our hospital services, will be held 23 August. Meet at Pilton Park 10.00am or outside Barnstaple Hospital 10.30-12.30pm. Please come along. Wear red, bring red ribbon. For more information www.sohs.co.uk