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Sidmouth wins out over Seaton in final decision on hospital bed closures

Thursday, 02 March 2017 0 Comments by Claire

Sidmouth Hospital has unexpectedly won the battle to retain its beds.

This is good news for Sidmouth, but it comes at a price. Seaton Hospital will instead lose its beds, in the farcical choice NEW Devon CCG presented communities with, which resembled a dutch auction.

All beds at Whipton, Okehampton and Honiton Hospitals (except maternity) will go, as they were not even included within the consultation options.

Community was once again (it happened in 2015 with Ottery Hospital) pitted against community with choices of various options of hospitals being able to keep their beds.

The CCG’s preferred option had been to save the beds at Tiverton, Seaton and Exmouth, but they say that they have listened to residents who made a case for Sidmouth on the basis of its demographics including a mainly elderly population.

But surely if this is the case, then the CCG has implicitly accepted that older people need hospital beds more than younger people. And Devon, especially Eastern Devon, is an area of a growing elderly population so why has this scheme ever been proposed in the first place?  Devon is becoming more and more elderly while more more and more hospital beds are closed.

And that’s not even getting on to the issue of the state of social care with its massive government funding cuts….

Devon County Council’s health scrutiny committee will examine this subject on Tuesday (7 March, 2pm).

Here’s the NEW Devon CCG communication ........................................................................

On Thursday 2 March 2017, the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NHS NEW Devon CCG) Governing Body met to discuss the Your Future Care consultation and consider the recommendations which have come out of that.  You can find the Governing Body papers here.

In October 2016, NHS NEW Devon CCG launched a public consultation on the reduction of community hospital beds in the Eastern locality of Devon, accompanied by the development of a model of care throughout Northern, Eastern and Western Devon, designed to shift the focus of services to integrated local care in people’s own homes.  The consultation ran from 7 October 2016 until 6 January 2017, with a focus on proposals to provide more care and support for elderly and frail people at home and in the community.

Our aim is to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and, if patients need to go to hospital, we want them to get home as quickly as possible, improving their chances of a better recovery.  An important piece of context is that the changes affect about 20 patients a week across the Eastern locality area – from Axminster in the East, Tiverton in the North, Exmouth in the South and Okehampton in the West.  These patients will have their care provided at home under the new model

Throughout the consultation period the CCG attended over 70 events and public meetings. In total more than 2000 people attended these events and discussed the proposals. We also received 1552 responses to the survey, plus more than 650 letters and emails in total.  A full post-consultation report can be found on the CCG website here.  An independent observation report has also been provided by Healthwatch Devon and can also be found on the CCG website here.

On Thursday 2 March 2017, the NHS NEW Devon CCG’s Governing Body met to review the decision-making business case (DMBC), which has been developed as a result of analysis of feedback received throughout the Your Future Care consultation.  This DMBC is available on the CCG website here.

At the start of the consultation, the preferred option was for beds at Tiverton, Seaton and Exmouth.

However, following consultation an option which places beds at Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exmouth has now emerged as the preferred option, by a fine margin, as a result of the consultation process and the analysis undertaken.  This is because the analysis of material following the consultation resulted in Seaton and Sidmouth being of equal merit as locations for community beds.

In this scenario, we looked deeper into the data collected by Devon County Council, known as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This showed that in terms of inequalities, Sidmouth has both a larger and older population than Seaton and it was this distinction that led to the CCG’s Governing Body to decide on Sidmouth as the location for the 24 bedded hospital site.

Governing Body members were asked to consider the following recommendations:
• Reduce community hospital beds from 143 to 72 in the Eastern locality
• Agree Tiverton & District Hospital as fixed point providing an inpatient unit with 32 beds
• To choose Exmouth Community Hospital as the 16-bedded hospital
• To choose Sidmouth Community Hospital as the 24-bedded hospital.
• In the light of the rurality and associated factors, to commission further work to assess more extensively the services needed in the Okehampton area

These recommendations were accepted by the CCG’s Governing Body on 2 March 2017.  This means that community inpatients beds at Sidmouth, Exmouth and Tiverton community hospitals will remain, while those at Seaton, Exeter (Whipton), Okehampton and Honiton will close.
Detailed planning for implementation of the planned changes will start as soon as possible. Implementation will be led by the community services provider, the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and timing will be dictated by a robust implementation assurance process. Inpatient beds will only close when the assurance process has been completed and this will be phased to ensure the new community services are in place and patient care can continue to be provided safely.

An assurance panel including consultant geriatricians, GPs and Healthwatch with social and primary care input, will be established. Community representatives will be included from the areas affected by any change.  Should you have any questions about the Your Future Care consultation please contact the consultation response unit (CRU)

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