THE MP for Torridge and West Devon urged healthcare bosses to rethink the closure of inpatient beds at Torrington Hospital.
This week Geoffrey Cox met healthcare officials from the North Devon Healthcare Trust and the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss the future of the cottage hospital.
The announcement to close 10 inpatient beds at the hospital was made last month by the NHS.
The closures form a six-month project due to start on September 1 and will be called Transforming Torrington Together.
Instead of people being treated in the hospital as an in-patient, they will be treated at home by community rehabilitation and nursing teams. Outpatient clinics will continue as normal.
During the meeting Mr Cox tried to persuade officials to reverse the decision to close the beds.
He also said they should remain open while there is a proper consultation.
Mr Cox said: “While I appreciate some future change may be necessary, it is essential that, prior to the suspension of the beds, full and proper consultation should take place with the community, which has not happened.
“I also believe that the beds should remain while the new community provision proves itself.
“With this in mind I believe that a formal consultation should now take place to allow the residents of Torrington, who truly value their community hospital, to have their say as to the best future for it in the light of new circumstances.
“I have urged the trust and the CCG to think again. I am glad to say there was an open and very frank discussion in which they have agreed to consider the points I have raised.”
A public meeting, which was scheduled for tomorrow at the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, has been postponed.
It will now take place on Thursday, September 12 at 5pm.
Jac Kelly, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I apologise to anyone inconvenienced by our decision to reschedule the public meeting.
“It was a very difficult decision to make as it goes against the grain to avoid an opportunity to engage and communicate with the local community.
“However, we heard the powerful feedback and the concerns about the project and we understand that we needed to reconsider our approach to consultation and engagement.
“We know patients want care closer to home and our community teams will continue caring for patients in their own home.
“We are really keen to hear from the public in advance of the pilot to ensure that not only do they help shape the way the pilot runs, but also influence how we judge the success of the pilot.”