I attended the full council meeting of Ashburton Town Council on December 11. Dawn Butler, assistant director of operations, Torbay Care Trust, was in attendance to put forward the trust's consultation process for proposals to move inpatient care from Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Hospital to the newer Newton Abbot Hospital.
Ms Butler spoke eloquently for 30 minutes and deftly sidestepped questions from Cllr Elaine Baker, mayor of the town council. The public had barely ten minutes to have their say.
Again there was no avoiding the passion in the room. Present also were two GPs, a retired GP and a retired consultant orthopaedic surgeon.
As a long term resident of the town and married to an Ashburtonian, I have had an intimate relationship with the hospital. I was on the League of Friends for 27 years. I worked out of there as a school nursing sister for Ashburton, Buckfastleigh and the surrounding moorland schools. My father died in that hospital. My mother was an inpatient there frequently before she, too, died. My sons have all had parts of their bodies ministered to in the MIU, as I have myself.
I am only one of many who have such a high regard for 'our' little hospital.
Three years ago, as I wrote in my last letter, a great deal of money (which had been raised by the LOF through the generosity of the people of these two towns) was used to upgrade the hospital. It is what we wanted and continue to want. It is fit for our needs.
Why not put all these services we are so desperately supposed to need in Newton Abbot Hospital, which can be reached quite easily during clinic hours, and leave our hospital as it is?
I have a strong suspicion that the reasons behind the trust's determination to implement these changes is a fear of litigation. So why must our hospital be sacrificed because someone in the future may possibly sue the trust because 'it is not fit for purpose'?
What has our world come to?MORE LETTERS IN OUR DIGITAL EDITION