• Trust secures ‘block booking’ for two intermediate care beds in Dartmouth through continued partnership with local care home
• Healthwatch Devon and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (Trust) to seek people’s views on service provision
• Plans progressing for new Health and Wellbeing Centre

The Trust has secured a ‘block booking’ of two beds at Beacon Court for local people who, for a short time, need more support than can be provided at home, but don’t need to be in a hospital bed. These beds are to be used alongside our care at home services and will be available for local people. The Trust’s staff will provide enhanced support to the care home to meet individuals’ specific health needs and promote recovery. This is part of our intermediate care offer which is based on promoting independence, wellbeing and re-ablement as close to home as possible.

Trust Chief Executive, Liz Davenport, commented: “We have been trying to secure an ongoing contract for residential home beds in Dartmouth since River View closed last year. We know from running integrated services in Dartmouth over the past two years that we need on average two beds for local people, and we are delighted that Beacon Court is going to work with us going forward to meet this need.”

Local people from several key organisations are involved, as part of the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre Working Group (1), in plans to evaluate how well local people are being served by new health and care services in the town and surrounding villages. Following the reconfiguration of services, more intensive support is available to people in their own homes, helping to avoid them being admitted to hospital, or – when hospital is the best place for them – to enable their discharge home as soon as they are medically fit.

The Trust already takes part in the national ‘Friends and Family Test’, asking people about their experiences of services, and is keen to hear more from people in Dartmouth, in recognition that  services have changed significantly in recent years.

Rhoda Allison, Assistant Director for Nursing and Professional practice for the Trust’s Moor to Sea locality, said: “We have some emerging data on the numbers of people using services in their own communities but we want to hear more about people’s experiences of the new services. We want to understand what is going well and what we could improve further.

“We are really keen to hear first-hand and in their own words, people’s experience of services. To help individuals feel comfortable in giving their feedback, we are working with Healthwatch Devon, and researchers from the University of Plymouth are helping us to make sure the research is impartial and of high quality. As we prepare to ask people about their experiences, we are also inviting people to go online and complete the Healthwatch Devon  “Have your say” survey. Available here

In the meantime, the Trust, GPs, CCG, and South Hams District Council (SHDC) are continuing to progress plans to create a purpose-built, new Health and Wellbeing Centre on land owned by South Hams District Council, next to the park and ride at the top of town.

The aim of the new centre is to deliver a more integrated healthcare service and fit-for-purpose, modern accommodation to house GP services, Dartmouth Caring, and retail outlets such as a pharmacy. It will also be the base for the local health and wellbeing team and provide a local clinic service, which was formerly run at Dartmouth Hospital and is now offered from the interim health and wellbeing centre at Dartmouth Clinic.

Under the plans, South Hams District Council (SHDC) will fund and complete the build on land in their ownership. The building will then be leased to the NHS, which has planned around a £1.5million investment in equipping and furnishing the finished building. This will be funded by the sale of NHS property in Dartmouth. The finance model also explores commercial opportunities for pharmacy and retail to support the health and wellbeing centre lease costs.

Completing the formal proposal and finance model is taking longer than anticipated, as it requires agreement by all partners (the Trust, SHDC, Dartmouth Medical Practice and the CCG). Final draft legal documents have been developed with South Hams District Council for all partners to approve.

Once complete, the detailed design will be subject to the planning process and will be tested against the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan, adopted by South Hams District Council (SHDC) in March 2019. Car parking in its wider context will be considered as part of the planning application.

(1) The working group is independently facilitated by Healthwatch Devon and brings together:

• South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
• Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (Trust)
• Trust elected governors for South Hams
• Devon County Council
• Dartmouth Town Council
• Kingswear Parish Council
• Dartmouth Medical Practice
• Dartmouth Patient Participation Group (PPG)
• Dartmouth Area Health Action Group
• League of Friends of Dartmouth and District Healthcare
• Dartmouth Caring.


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Have you, or someone you know, been affected by the changes made to health and care provisions in Dartmouth. Share your experiences, good or bad, so we can have a clearer idea of what is needed in your town. You can help make a health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas with Healthwatch Devon.

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