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New move in fight to save Teignmouth Hospital

Wednesday, 28 February 2024 16:00

By Guy Henderson - Local Democracy Reporter @GuyAHenderson

Councillors campaigning to save Teignmouth Hospital

Councillors take the 'final roll of the dice'

The battle to save Teignmouth Hospital has reached ‘the final roll of the dice’ as campaigners scramble to keep it open.

Teignbridge Council has decided to have one last go at urging health secretary Victoria Atkins to look again at NHS Devon’s decision to shut down the hospital.

The health service says the town will be better served by a new ‘hub’, but campaigners believe the hospital’s role is still vital.

It was the first NHS hospital to be built after the Second World War, replacing a building which was bombed.

Teignbridge chairman Cllr Chris Clarance (Independent, Shaldon and Stokeinteignhead) said the council needed to act quickly after a Devon County Council committee voted in January not to lobby the minister on behalf of Teignmouth.

He said there is still a clear need for the hospital, and added: “The NHS says its model of care is working efficiently. If it was, there wouldn’t be queues of ambulances lined up on a dai;ly basis outside Torquay’s accident and emergency department.

“If any lay person can see that there are insufficient in-patient beds, why can’t our trust see it too?”

Cllr Clarance disputed reports that the fabric of the building is in poor condition with water coming in. “I don’t buy into the argument that it is all doom and gloom about the state of the building,” he said.

“We can’t afford to wait any longer. This is the final roll of the dice.”

Cllr Rosie Dawson (Lib Dem, Dawlish NE) said the hospital had been used as a ‘red zone’ assessment centre during the pandemic, and may be needed again.

“If this is the last action we can take to try and save Teignmouth Hospital then we must take it,” she said,.

But Cllr Joan Atkins (Conservative, Teignmouth Central) warned that if the hospital was saved, the NHS had ‘no stomach’ to go on running it.

She said: “I believe firmly that primary care should be available, but I don’t believe the hospital is the place for it to be. I think we’re barking up the wrong tree.”

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