Exmouth set to lose out-of-hours treatment centre

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:25 09 September 2016

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A petition has been set up against the proposed closure of Exmouth's out-of-hours treatment centre, due to take place next month.

Devon Doctors, which runs the out-of-hours GP services in the region, is planning to combine the scheme with Devon’s NHS 111 service, which it will take over next month.

Under the plans due to take effect on October 1, treatment centres such as the one at Exmouth Hospital will close in favour of patients phoning the 111 service for help.

Currently, there is one GP who provides out-of-hours care on weekday evenings and two at the weekends.

This change means there will be no GP working in Exmouth and patients may face having to travel to Exeter or Honiton for treatment.

Mr Phillip Rainbird, who has set up a petition with his partner Alison Rourke, has concerns for those who find travelling difficult.

He said: “Exmouth is one of the largest towns in East Devon and a large number of people will find getting to Exeter difficult.

“What’s going to happen if there is flooding? Last year, the floods meant, on one occasion, the main route between Exeter and Exmouth was cut off.

“I know the NHS is struggling, but what price are we putting on a life?”

Lympstone Parish Council has said it will be writing a letter to the NHS on behalf of residents in the village.

In response, Devon Doctors has said that urgent out-of-hours care will still be available and home visits can be arranged for those unable to travel.

A Devon Doctors spokesman said: “The system won’t change. Urgent out-of-hours care will continue to be accessed by telephoning NHS 111.”

Anyone wanting to sign the petition should go to https://www.change.org/p/keep-out-of-hours-doctors-at-exmouth-hospital

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