A senior councillor has accused an NHS trust of lying over its plans for future healthcare following the closure of a cottage hospital.

Devon county and South Hams district councillor Jonathan Hawkins hit out after the Chronicle revealed Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said it was “not an option” to reopen Dartmouth and Kingswear Hospital following the collapse of talks to move healthcare provision in the town to River View in Townstal.

Cllr Hawkins, posting on the Townstal Community Facebook page, said: “This is totally unacceptable; we have been lied to by the trust so many times I cannot count.

“They promised not to close the hospital.

“They promised us a minor injuries unit.

“They promised us River View.

“They promised us nursing beds.

“These are just a few.

“Each time they have lied to us.

“How can we have trust in what they say?

“Please turn up on Monday [to the public meeting at St Saviour’s Church at 7pm].

“Show them how we feel and that this is simply not acceptable.”

He later added: “We want our hospital reopened NOW.”

Nick Hindmarsh, manager of the Dartmouth Caring charity, which would have moved to River View under the collapsed NHS trust and clinical commissioning group’s plans, said: “Shocked that such provocative headline should come out before the meeting. This does nothing to support work between the community and the trust. Sets us all back.”

Later, Cllr Hawkins, in an email sent to Pierre Landell-Mills, chairman of the Dartmouth Patients Participation Group, and copied to the Chronicle, said: “As someone who has attended all the recent meetings concerning the public meeting on Monday, I believe that the trust needs to rebuild its trust by residents.

“On every issue they have lied or willingly deceived us all.

"First it was the MIU [Minor Injuries Unit], then the X-ray, then the promise of not closing the hospital until an alternative was up and running, now I hear any new facility will not have any nursing beds. 

“Sorry but this is totally unacceptable, we are a remote community that needs a proper thought out level of care.

“These constant cuts are not acceptable.”

A Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: "We are listening to the local community and we will continue to do so. It is very unfortunate that we have not been able to move forward with the River View site but we have explained the reasons for this. "We absolutely hear that local people want us to move swiftly to identify a location so that the health and wellbeing centre can open and I would like to assure local people that we want this too. "I would urge anyone to come along to the meeting on Monday so that they can hear for themselves the current progress and so that we can listen to people’s views and thoughts and answer any questions."The Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We fully agree with the Dartmouth Caring charity that such a provocative headline is inflammatory and unacceptable; it undermines the work of our local NHS and is an affront to all those who want a constructive and open discussion at the forthcoming public meeting.“Respect for others is a fundamental value of the NHS and, while we are always willing to listen to our critics, to direct such hurtful language at an entire hospital trust is unfair to the NHS workforce who are dedicated to serving their local community.“We will continue to work openly and honestly with all those who care about their local NHS.”