The following is a media statement from Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

Elderly and frail members of the community are set to get improved health care and support after local doctors backed proposals to introduce a better way of caring for people.

The decision was made today (Thursday, 2 March) by the Governing Body of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) to implement the recommendations made following the 13-week Your Future Care public consultation.

More care and support will be provided at home and in the community for the elderly and frail, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and supporting a faster return home when hospital is needed.

Fewer community hospital inpatient beds will be needed and it has been decided that the number of community beds in the Eastern locality* will reduce from 143 to 72.

The decision is that community inpatients beds at Sidmouth, Exmouth and Tiverton community hospitals will remain, while those at Seaton, Exeter (Whipton), Okehampton and Honiton will close. The changes will 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.

An option for 24 beds at Seaton Hospital, rather than Sidmouth, had been the preferred option at the start of the consultation. However, analysis of material collected during the consultation and study of data on inequalities, led to Sidmouth emerging as the more appropriate location for beds.

Honiton and Okehampton hospitals did not appear in any of the shortlisted options following the initial scoring process. During the consultation, the community in Honiton requested further consideration of issues such as rurality and patient access. Similarly, the community put forward a case for beds at Okehampton Hospital.

The strength of feedback from public and clinical stakeholders has not changed the proposal to close beds at Okehampton, but the CCG agreed that in light of the rurality and associated factors, it would commission further work to assess the services needed in the Okehampton area.

The recommendations and findings are detailed in the Decision-Making Business Case, available on the CCG website here.

Dr Tim Burke, chair of NHS NEW Devon CCG, said: “We know we can do more to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and support a faster return home for our patients. Too many people are in hospitals when they don’t need to be there. Every day, up to 600 people are in hospitals (100 of these in community hospitals) who no longer have a medical need to be there.

“There is a growing body of evidence that the solution lies in developing community services outside hospital, which in turn reduces the numbers of people unnecessarily admitted to hospital. We need to be focussing more resources on providing better care for people away from hospitals.

“We will look at how we will implement the changes as soon as possible. This will include an assurance process that will involve consultant geriatricians, GPs and community representatives. Inpatient beds will only close when the assurance process has been completed.

“At this point, I want to personally thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation.”


Further information

*The Eastern locality of Devon covers East Devon, Exeter and Mid Devon and parts of West Devon, including Okehampton.

Changes to inpatient beds at community hospitals in the Eastern Locality*

Hospital Current number of inpatient beds Number of beds following decision
Tiverton 32 32
Sidmouth 18 24
Exmouth 18 16
Okehampton 16 0
Honiton 18 0
Seaton 18 0
Exeter (Whipton) 20 0

 

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