Motion to register extreme concern over potential loss of 71 community beds in East Devon voted through by councillors

The overwhelming majority of East Devon councillors were of one mind at yesterday’s full council meeting (on 26 October 2016), at Knowle, Sidmouth, when they voted in favour of a motion, proposed by Councillor Peter Burrows (a Seaton ward member), which asked that:

“This council register its extreme concern at the impending loss of 71 Community beds in this part of Devon.  It is a well-known fact, particularly in coastal and rural Devon, that there is an above average population of elderly people. Older people take longer to recuperate from illness, hospital admission and operations. Community services are already overstretched and there is an acute lack of appropriate carers to care for people in their own homes. Our District General Hospitals increasingly find it difficult to keep up with demand due to the fact that they cannot discharge people when they are ready because of the lack of community services. All the Government advice has been to encourage the care of people close to their homes. 

“We thank Devon MPs, including Sir Hugo Swire and Neil Parish, who secured a debate at Westminster on 18 October, to air their concerns about proposed changes to community bed provision in East Devon, and that this council write to them urging them to continue speaking on behalf of all residents in East Devon, so that an ill thought out decision which has come about only for financial reasons, is urgently re-considered by the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The CCG will be undertaking public consultation over community bed closures in Devon from 31 October 2016 until 6 January 2017.

East Devon District Council’s Chief Executive Mark Williams will now write on behalf of the council to Sir Hugo Swire MP and Neil Parish MP, to ask them to continue to lobby the CCG by requesting that it rethinks its decision to remove a number of inpatient beds in Seaton, Exmouth and Sidmouth and to close Honiton Hospital's community beds completely.

In summing up his motion, Councillor Peter Burrows said:

“I take the issue of the loss of community hospital beds very seriously and feel strongly about the impact it will have on the people of East Devon.

“In particular, I feel we need to raise awareness of this potentially devastating predicament among the younger generation, as they will be the ones looking after their parents if the beds are lost. This is why I want to encourage as much engagement as possible with young people.

“I would like to thank my fellow councillors very much for supporting this motion and I look forward to our public meeting in Seaton on 4 November where residents can discuss this issue further with our local MP.” 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Douglas Hull (ward member for Axminster Town) and supported by Councillors Eileen Wragg (Exmouth Town), Pat Graham (Exmouth Town), Brenda Taylor (Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh) and Steve Gazzard (Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh).

52 councillors were present at the meeting  – 51 voted in favour of the motion and there was one abstention .