• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    16 December 2018

    Last week I spent time catching up on our local hospitals. I touched base with Sarah Parker-Khan, the Chair of the League of Friends of Ashburton Hospital. Sarah and her team have done a great job in supporting our local hospital as has our local matron and her team who are all making a real impact. The recent open day helped to inform the local community about the facilities that are on offer with these including the physiotherapy clinic which has expanded, along with podiatry, lower limb services and a community therapy team. The all-important District Nursing Team and Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Care are based at the hospital and this is ensuring a comprehensive approach to vulnerable patients. The matron has also recently introduced a psychotherapy service to provide counselling for mental health issues. So Ashburton Hospital is moving forward. Sarah and I also discussed the Government’s new Future High Streets Fund which will provide a total of £675million to high streets and town centres to implement plans to help them develop in the face of changing shopping habits, not least the rise of online shopping – around 17% of retail shopping is now carried out online. I am ready to support and assist any local community or council within Central Devon that wishes to take advantage of this project and put in a bid for funding. This initiative comes on top of the one third reduction in business rates that we announced at the recent budget and which will kick in next year and for the year afterwards. I also touched base with key leaders at the local NHS FoundationTrust regarding Okehampton Hospital. There has been some real progress in terms of getting new treatments up and running and thanks to the hard work of many locally, not least Cllr Kevin Ball there has been far better engagement between the local community and the trust over recent months. But I still want to see the new services that are yet to come mapped out with clear timelines. I have also requested details of the communications plan which the trust is looking to roll out at the end of January in order to let local people know about the variety of services available at Okey hospital. I also spent time catching up with Clive Eginton the leader of Mid Devon District Council to discuss the work that they are carrying out to clamp down on weed growth in our towns and villages and to tackle the scourge of litter – not least that thrown out of car windows onto our grass verges by incredibly thoughtless people. Clive was also able to update me on the progress made in Chawleigh where arrangements have now been put in place to reopen a post office in the village. Really great news and I look forward to being invited to the opening in the early part of next year. More from Mel twitter @MelJStride and online