A new transport scheme to take patients to and from the revamped Budleigh Salterton Hospital could be paid for by town and parish councils.

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The NHS is pushing ahead with plans to turn the hospital into a community health hub, which would offer a range of services including specialist care for the elderly, writes Sean Keywood.

There had been concerns raised that some of these patients might find it difficult to access these services at the hospital, due to its location outside the town centre.

Because of this, Budleigh Salterton Town Council is approaching other councils with the idea of using parishes together funding, which is given to parish and town councils by East Devon District Council and Devon County Council for community projects, to provide a transport scheme.

At least two councils must collaborate on such projects.

Town clerk Jo Vanstone said that councils were struggling to come up with projects to spend the money on, and town mayor Steve Hall had suggested the parishes in the NHS’s Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) commissioning group could join up to pay for transport to the new hospital.

She said: “Councillor Hall suggested we contact the parishes which come under WEB, to see if they would be happy if we used the funding to provide some sort of transportation.

“It won’t step on Ring and Ride’s toes, as it will be purely for people to get to the hospital and go home again.”

Mrs Vanstone said she will be writing to the other parishes, including Exmouth, Woodbury, East Budleigh and Lympstone, to see what they make of the idea.

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