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Plight of Ottery St Mary Hospital - Hugo Swire urged to intervene

Monday, 04 April 2016 1 Comment by Claire

Email I sent to Hugo Swire this evening…..

I expect that you have heard about Ottery St Mary Hospital’s latest plight – that the building is set shortly to be acquired by NHS Property Services which has the ability to charge commercial rents to NHS organisations.

You will be aware that NEW Devon CCG intends to set up a health hub once the remainder of the beds are removed later this year but the latest news means that if commercial rents are charged (very likely) it may be unaffordable to continue to use the building, after which NHS Property Services may well sell it off.

I am sure you will be familiar with the financial position of NEW Devon CCG, which is some £80m in deficit.

This is the worst case scenario of course, but it is certainly possible and DCC’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee (of which I am a member) will be examining this very issue at its June meeting. It doesn’t just affect Ottery, but community hospitals right across Devon.

Given the body blow that has already been served to Ottery St Mary by way of losing all its beds, the thought of the building being potentially sold off is completely beyond the pale – and horribly unfair to the community, which worked incredibly hard to fundraise large amounts of money for it to be built in the 1990s.

I would be grateful if you would arrange a meeting with the secretary of state for health as a matter of urgency and ask him for cast iron assurances that Ottery Hospital will not be sold off, but instead that it will remain safe and will continue to be used for the benefit of the community only.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Claire Wright


1. At 05:49 pm on 05th Apr Philip Algar wrote:

It is difficult to comment adequately in less than 5,000 words to describe the imminent demise of the modern Ottery Hospital which provides such a fine service for the locality. Bed blocking at Wonford could be alleviated by keeping inpatient beds at Ottery but that seems irrelevant, as do all the other sensible suggestions which have been ignored.  Of course, there are dozens of other reasons for retaining the hospital as a hospital, but they have all been rejected. Ottery wants a hospital, not a hub offering a few services and assisted financially by some commercial rents.

Can we be assured that the total number of local beds in the area will be maintained? I doubt it but would be pleased to be wrong. As the local population increases, the number of inpatient beds will decrease. Has what CCG perceive as reality made satire irrelevant? What will be on the site of the hospital in the next five years? Houses and flats occupied by new residents, denied local hospital facilities?

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