Budleigh woman worry over hospital move

PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 January 2016

The Royal Devon and Exeter hospital. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 0685-43-12AW

The Royal Devon and Exeter hospital. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 0685-43-12AW


A Budleigh Salterton woman, who relies on public transport to get to hospital appointments, has expressed concern over plans to move a vital medical department to Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth.

Christine Bailey, 61, of Swains Road, has recently been in and out of the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) hospital after discovering a possible cancerous growth on her lung.

Last week she was told the growth was not malignant and that she may have tuberculosis instead.

Most of her time in the hospital has been spent in the department of thoracic surgery at Royal Devon and Exeter hospital and she recently learned the unit may be moving to Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth.

Christine said she is concerned about the extra distance she will have to travel in order to continue her treatment for the possible lung disease.

She said: “It is my understanding that if the Department of Thoracic and GI Surgery at RD&E is closed there will be no provision between Plymouth and Bristol.

“Whilst I have some understanding of the huge financial pressures faced by the NHS, I cannot condone the current thinking of developing ‘Centres of Excellence’ so geographically far apart.

“This seems to be a ‘quick fix’ solution designed by administrators rather than clinicians.

“In my opinion - as a current service user - RD&E is a centre of excellence, and should be celebrated as such. “I cannot speak highly enough of the multi-disciplinary Thoracic and Upper GI Surgical team at RD&E. They are efficient and effective, compassionate and respectful.

“I cannot understand how it makes sense to lose this gem to Derriford Hospital and leave no cover between Plymouth and Bristol.

“Would it not make more sense to maintain and even develop the department at RD&E and attract patients from West Somerset and West Dorset?”

A spokesman for the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital said the department for upper GI surgery was moved to Plymouth some years ago and the Royal Devon and Exeter Trust is looking into moving the thoracic department

He said: “Due to the small number of thoracic operations carried at the RD&E, the trust, in conjunction with the Devon County Council overview and scrutiny committee, has for some time been considering options which will deliver a sustainable service. We are currently in discussion with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, and will clearly follow necessary process should the service transfer.”

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