MP’s promise to help health hub

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 April 2016

(R-L, anti-clockwise): Cllr Christine Channon (Budleigh County Councillor), John Varley (Clinton Devon Estates), Leigh Rix (Clinton Devon Estates), Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Mary Nisbett (Westbank), Rob Jones (Hub Development Manager), Chris Davis (League of Friends), David Evans (League of Friends).

(R-L, anti-clockwise): Cllr Christine Channon (Budleigh County Councillor), John Varley (Clinton Devon Estates), Leigh Rix (Clinton Devon Estates), Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Mary Nisbett (Westbank), Rob Jones (Hub Development Manager), Chris Davis (League of Friends), David Evans (League of Friends).

Archant

East Devon MP Hugo Swire has pledged to do everything within his power to help transform the former Budleigh Salterton Hospital into a health and wellbeing hub.

The project has experienced delays due to a change in health care provider in the region, moving from Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) to the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust (RDEFT) in June 2016.

This change means that the ownership of Budleigh Salterton Hospital would be transferred to NHS Property Services, which would be required to charge commercial rates for use of the hospital building.

A meeting was held on Friday (April 1) between stakeholders and MP Hugo Swire to explore ways to move the project forward.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Swire admitted his frustration at the slow progress and said he was looking to help in any way he could.

He said: “All those who attended Friday’s meeting have worked incredibly hard on this project and I am grateful to them all for providing me with such a comprehensive update.

“From the outset, I have been a passionate supporter of this project, as I believe it takes an innovative approach to combining health and social care.

“I, like my constituents in Budleigh, have been very frustrated by the delays to the project. I will be doing all that I can to help to find a constructive way forward and I will be writing to Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Care Group, RDEFT and NHS Property Services to urge them to work together to finally get this project moving.”

Dr Richard Mejzner, who spearheaded the project, said: “We are delighted with the support we have received from Mr Swire and the interest he has shown in the difficulties of bringing the project to fruition.”

The former hospital closed last summer and was due to reopen as a multi-purpose health facility for the community in September.

It is hoped that the wellbeing hub can offer people a range of services and clinics, such as arts, sport and dance, as well as an internet cafe.

Age Concern, which is currently based at the Public Hall, was also due to be moving in to the former hospital.

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