Thank you for your coverage of the threat to our hospital in Okehampton. In 2017 we saved the site from being sold for housing and Okehampton Hospital was deemed a Special Case because of our rurality.

Since the then the population of the greater Okehampto  area has grown from just over 6,000 to over 9,000. 

Did you realise there are around 50 clinics held in Okehampton Hospital?  As well as X-ray, physiotherapy, audiology, podiatry, pre and post-natal care, and others.  The Mental Health team are based there, FORCE holds sessions, hospice and community nurses are based there. This is a real and valuable community asset and we need to ensure it stays open and the Dartmoor Ward and Birthing Unit re-activated. 

As a result of the communication from the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – outlining the decision to hand back the empty space to the NHS Property Services Company Ltd.–  a group of town and Hamlets councillors got together. Both councils are supportive of action to keep our hospital safe and reopen the wards. But both felt this should be a community group.

The group decided to re-activate the North Dartmoor Health Initiative which was formed in 2017 to look into finding community use of the empty wards. However the rent that NHS Property Services demanded for the space was astronomical and no community group here could possible afford to pay it  (£1.2million pounds have been paid to date).

NDHI will be looking at ways to move forward and we will be needing up to date statistics ie. evidence on how the hospital affects your life, or the lack of the Dartmoor Ward or the birthing area has affected you. What about travel to other hospitals etc.?

We are aware that the Liberal Democrats have taken their public survey as proof that this is one of the top priorities for the town and surrounding villages and we welcome their support. However NDHI is a non party political community group, as it was originally set up and will continue to be. 

Jan Goffey