Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton Richard Foord has praised the work of local NHS staff following a visit to Tiverton Community Hospital and challenged the Government to adopt his proposals for a Community Hospital Fund to help support local facilities.
The local MP visited Tiverton hospital last month and was given a tour of the facilities by Zoe Harris, Eastern Divisional Director for Community Services at the Royal Devon University NHS Trust.
Whilst touring the Castle Hill practice, a primary care facility on the Tiverton site, Richard Foord spoke to frontline staff about the work that goes on within inpatient wards and had a wide-ranging discussion with hospital managers on the role of community healthcare.
He was also given a briefing on plans for a new endoscopy unit which will be built on the Tiverton site later this year and paid a visit to a mobile endoscopy unit which is currently being installed.
Since his election last June, Richard Foord has been a vocal champion for community hospitals and the benefit they have offered to rural areas like Devon.
He is campaigning for the Government to set up a Community Hospital Fund in order to invest in protecting existing services and restore the capacity which has been lost in recent years.
Commenting after his visit Richard Foord MP said:
“The work that NHS staff do in our local community hospitals is so valuable. They truly are on the frontline and are the place most of us turn to when we need medical assistance.
“However, these vibrant healthcare hubs are under threat. We’ve already seen dozens of beds lost from community hospitals across our area in recent years – with the hospital at Seaton even losing a whole ward.
“What is worse is that the Government has allowed this hollowing out to happen unabated. In rural communities like ours having access to the care they need close to home can make a huge difference to people’s lives and stop them having to travel miles for treatment.
“That’s why I have been calling for a new Community Hospital Fund in order to invest directly into our communities, restore the lost beds, and ensure staff have the full range of equipment they need to keep delivering quality treatment.
“I hope Ministers will listen to my constructive proposals and work with me to help protect Devon’s vital Community Hospitals.”
Zoe Harris added:
“We were delighted to have the opportunity to show Richard around Tiverton Community Hospital and showcase the services we are able to offer patients who might otherwise have to travel long distances to Barnstaple or Exeter.”