MP hits out at continued closure of town's hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:37 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:37 24 February 2016

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East Devon MP Hugo Swire says he is 'deeply frustrated' by delays to the reopening of Budleigh Salterton Hospital.

As reported by the Journal last week, the hospital remains closed, five months after it was due to reopen as a health and wellbeing hub, due to an ownership dispute.

Mr Swire says he hopes to hold talks to try to resolve the issue.

He said: “I have always been a keen supporter of this project as I believe that it takes an innovative approach to integrating health and social care.

“Like many of my constituents in Budleigh and the wider area, I am deeply frustrated by this delay.

“It is my plan to set up a round table meeting with all of the stakeholders involved in this project in an effort to find a solution to this particular problem.

“I have already invited the Health Minister, Lord Prior, to this meeting and hopefully he will be able to attend.”

The issue has arisen as the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group is in discussions to hand over responsibility for East Devon’s community hospitals, including Budleigh, from the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

This would mean the ownership of Budleigh Salterton Hospital would be automatically transferred to NHS Property Services.

The stumbling block is that NHS Property Services would need to generate a commercial rent from the hospital building, and negotiations on this issue have caused the delay.

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