Axminster hospital beds closure back on

PUBLISHED: 14:59 14 January 2015 | UPDATED: 15:01 14 January 2015

Axminster Hospital. Photo by Chris Carson

Axminster Hospital. Photo by Chris Carson

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Patients will be transferred to Seaton from today following a new court ruling

The temporary transfer of inpatient beds from Axminster Community Hospital to Seaton is to go ahead immediately after an interim court order was suspended.

The transfer is taking place today (Wednesday, January 14), as originally planned by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust following the outcome of its public consultation into resolving significant staffing and patient safety concerns.

The Trust received a court order on Monday (reported in today’s Midweek Herald) preventing the transfer until a full hearing next month.

But this was suspended at the High Court yesterday, after a judge ruled that the order should not have been made without notice to the Trust and that the issue should instead be fully addressed and resolved at an urgent hearing.

The judge also noted that the initial order was made without any submission from the Trust and that the transfer could be reversed if necessary.

Following a consultation with the communities of the Axe Valley, the Trust board decided last week to accept a £300,000 offer from Axminster Hospital League of Friends to urgently explore ways to maintain the inpatient beds at Axminster.

In the interim, and because the very real staffing and safety concerns were escalating, the board also agreed that inpatient services at Axminster would temporarily transfer to Seaton, creating one 18-bedded unit.

Kevin Marsh, director of nursing, said: “Patient safety and quality of care is, and always has been, our main priority.

“Yesterday’s decision means we can continue to take the necessary steps to provide safe care to patients in Axminster and Seaton and ensure community beds remain available to those who need them.

“Our immediate focus is on the safe transfer of patients from Axminster to Seaton.”

Alison Diamond, chief executive, said: “We continue to work closely with the League of Friends and are due to meet them later this week to discuss how we use the £300,000 to maintain beds at Axminster.

“However, we have a duty to the patients on our wards right now to deliver safe care to them.

“I would like to commend the staff at Axminster who have managed this difficult situation valiantly.”

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