Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Comments on "East Devon hospital bed closures to be sped up due to staffing shortages"

1. At 10:16 pm on 15th Aug Sandra Semple wrote:

Poor, poor Seaton - no hospital beds and direct buses to RDE being cut down from September (X52 no Sunday service), necessitating a 2 bus-trip with one bus taking 1.5 hours to Exeter via Sismouth (9A, 2 hourly on Sunday).  Your partner needs a hospital bed?  If you have no car Sidmouth is at least a 3-4 hour round trip, and no possibility of getting to Exmouth in less than 2,5 hours if you are lucky with changeovers.

2. At 11:09 pm on 15th Aug Paul F wrote:

I cannot see how they can be ready for “hospital at at home” nor how they could even have completed a robust gateway review in the timescales since the decision to proceed was made a handful of months ago.

During the consultation, we were assured that there would be a carefully planned phased approach which would not even be started until there was solid proof that patient safety would not be put at risk – but what they have announced is nothing like this.

As a professional programme / project manager in a prior career, with many years experience in the public sector, including experience with NHS programmes, it seems to me that a programme / project of this size cannot even have been planned properly in the timescales, much less that the preparatory phases have been undertaken.

My experience with the NHS was that projects were understandably paranoid about getting it wrong and people dying as a consequence. This seems to me to be so rushed that such concerns cannot possibly have been considered, much less addressed.

If they get this wrong people are going to die – and in numbers that don’t bear thinking about. Jeremy Hunt has already admitted that there are c. 8,000 avoidable deaths in England per year in hospitals due to the crisis – and that doesn’t include any other parts of the NHS like shortage of ambulances or people dying whilst ambulances queue for overstretched A&E departments etc. If what is happening here is duplicated across England, and if it is not done properly, we could easily be seeing 10x or even 100x this number of deaths.

At this stage it seems to me that it is impossible to reverse these decisions. So what we most need is a solid independent means of gathering factual evidence of whether the changes are being successful or not, and to encourage patients and relatives to report their experiences. This process needs to be independent of the NHS and especially independent of the CCG, as the way they are implementing this seems to be resulting in an absolute loss of trust.

Finally, I would like to express my utter contempt for Devon County Council, and in particular to the saboteurs of the Health Scrutiny Committee, who have utterly failed to fulfil their role to safeguard health services in Devon and to scrutinise what the CCG is doing.