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Massive bed cuts across Devon proposed in NHS leaked document

Thursday, 08 September 2016 3 Comments by Claire

A raft of cuts are planned, including major bed closures across the big four Devon district hospitals, and in community hospitals, a leaked NHS document reveals today.

The BBC has broadcast devastating news that one in six acute hospital beds are proposed to be cut, as well as the loss of almost 200 community hospital beds.

The sustainability and transformation plan, which unbelievably, wasn’t going to be published until January, leaving very little time for the public to give their views on plans, also states that if nothing changes the NHS in Devon will be £572m in the red by 2020/21.

Up to 900 staff may have to change role and there would be an 11% cut in nursing and medical workforce spend as well as management and admin.

Derriford hospital in Plymouth would be a fixed point for emergency care, paediatrics, neonatology, consultant-led obstetrics and strokes because it is the designated Major Trauma Centre for the region. The Royal Devon and Exeter hospital is favoured as a second site for maternity, paediatrics and neonatology.

My understanding is that the document was submitted to NHS England for its consideration, in June.

That’s three months ago, why on earth it has been kept so secret from residents (and councillors including those like me on the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee)?

As an Ottery councillor I am very worried indeed now, for Ottery Hospital’s future - and the impact that so many acute and community bed closures in general will have on patient care all over the county. There is simply not enough care available in people’s homes to cope with such drastic cuts.

Paid care workers are in short supply and care packages to enable patients to be discharged are taking far too long. Devon County Council care homes have closed due to austerity measures and the drip drip of community bed closures over the years, along with the increase in the numbers of older people with complex health needs has taken its toll.

The fact that the NHS is massively underfunded should not mean that patients have to suffer.

Government ministers should be ashamed of themselves for presiding over such appalling cuts.

The RD&E has around 800 beds, which puts the proposed acute bed losses into perspective.

The plan comes before Devon’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee on Monday 19 September, at 2pm.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

If you wish to address the committee for a maximum of three minutes, please register with Gerry Rufolo first at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Pic:  Addressing residents concerned at the threat of NHS Property Services to Ottery Hospital, in May

Comments

1. At 07:56 am on 09th Sep Gill Akers wrote:

My mother is in the Acute Stroke Ward at the RD&E. I was discussing ongoing options with a senior nurse yesterday. The preferred discharge option is for a few days rehab at OSM hospital. Unfortunately, the nurse explained, there are several other patients in the Acute Stroke Ward waiting for the chance of that same option, so it looks unlikely that my mother will be able to do this. This is ridiculous. It doesn’t make compassionate or economic sense.

2. At 08:45 am on 09th Sep Robbie Brown wrote:

Hi Claire, (I’m a member of South Devon Watch group and friend of Georgina Allen.)
This isn’t much use re Ottery, but FYI anyway. Best wishes, Robbie B
http://www.southdevonandtorbayccg.nhs.uk/community-health-services/Pages/default.aspx

3. At 02:12 pm on 09th Sep Paul F wrote:

Whilst I am against the cuts - and absolutely against the undemocratic way this is happening without debate or real consultation - we have to be realistic that:

a. Health services (in the widest sense) and the NHS in particular are the type of services which can spend whatever money is given to them - in a positive sense it is a bottomless pit.

b. The UK cannot possibly fund every possible health option that we might want - there has to be a line drawn somewhere.

So the real question is where this line is drawn - and even more importantly (if that is possible) how this decision is taken, with full debate and real consultation, with full understanding of the consequences both positive and negative, and ideally with the majority of the public supporting these changes (though that may be impossible).

One of the major areas of consequences that need to be understood is whether cuts to the NHS will result in even bigger increases in costs for e.g. social care. Moving the problem (and associated costs) from A to B doesn’t save money - most likely the unplanned consequences and costs of the changes themselves (such as £B consultancy contracts) will cost far more than is saved.

Previous cuts have had a noticeable negative impact on local medical services - once (only a few years ago) a brilliant medical service at the RD&E, the reduction in quality is quite noticeable. Goodness knows what the results of these next cuts will be.

However, it is the secrecy, lack of debate, lack of consultation and apparent complete ignorance of the consequences which make me so angry. The UK is supposed to be a democratic society - but under the current government this is becoming increasingly less so. (See also, Academy Schools i.e. privatisation, devolution i.e. privatisation, etc. etc.)

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