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Wednesday 22nd June 2016


 On Monday 20th June Devon County Council Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee in a groundbreaking meeting, being one of the first to allow public participation, agreed that the situation with Torrington Community Hospital and future services had to be referred to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt. It was a decision that was carried overwhelmingly with just two abstentions
Four members of The STITCH campaign, Margaret Brown, John Wardman, Di Davey and Trisha Martin addressed members of the committee. They reminded them of the illegal removal of the ten in-patient beds at the hospital, without consultation, and also the difficulties the campaign faced in dealing with the Clinical Commissioning Group and The NEW Healthcare Trust misinformation and obstructive methods in dismissing the very real concerns of the population of Torrington and the 17 surrounding parishes following the loss of the beds and the introduction of the so-called Enhanced Care Closer to Home.
This victory for STITCH vindicates the actions of the campaign including several public meetings, a stunning outcome in a Parish Poll, a rare event in itself and frequent information to the media in pursuing the reinstatement of the in-patient beds at Torrington Community Hospital. It will have a huge impact on the local hospital campaigns in towns across the region, and much further afield.
STITCH has requested that the MP for Torridge and West Devon, Geoffrey Cox, arranges a meeting with the Health Minister Jeremy Hunt in London and that he supports the campaign fully in this request.
“A consultation process should NOT have serious failings.The Tucker Reportidentified seven major failings and recommendations. Clearly the consultation process was not in any way adequate and we ask this Committee to refer our case to the Secretary of State.” John Wardman

“The Trust & CCG failed Torrington - and is now failing the rest of North Devon. They inaccurately promoted the ‘Torrington Experiment’ as an outstanding success - and used it at their public meetings as a basis on which to build their healthcare plans for the region . . . The Trust & CCG continually dismissed our views and findings - they had their own agenda and were very keen to silence us. Trisha Martin

Diana Davey informed the committee of several cases she has had brought to her attention where ‘care closer to home’ failed including that of her own sister-in-law..

Margaret Brown, Chair of the STITCH campaign, in summary referred to the independent report by Dr Helen Tucker which found several failings in the NEW Trust and the CCG, including the lack of an Impact Assessment

”It has been our contention from the start that the Test of Change in Torrington was illegal. The Trust and/or the CCG were less than honest in the aftermath of the closure in July 2013, indeed some staff members were actually misleading in their public comments.” Margaret Brown