Axminster Hospital beds to close for good

Axminster Hospital

Axminster Hospital - Credit: Archant

Inpatient facilties to be concentrated at Seaton

Axminster Hospital beds are to be closed for good with inpatient facilities for the Axe Valley being concentrated at Seaton.

The controversial decision was taken at NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NEW Devon CCG) Governing Body meeting yesterday (Thursday)

The move is likely to be greeted with outrage by hospital campaigners in Axminster.

Under the proposals for future healthcare provision in the region the number of community hospital inpatient units in Eastern Devon will reduce from 10 to seven.

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Community hospitals at Axminster, Crediton and Ottery St Mary will no longer have overnight inpatient beds, although Ottery St Mary Hospital will have 15 overnight stroke rehabilitation beds for now.

None of the community hospitals will close as a result of the decision. Health and social care hubs with a range of outpatient services, day surgery and other health and social care services will be developed at hospitals without inpatient beds.

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Dr David Jenner, a GP from Cullompton and chair of the Eastern Locality of NHS NEW Devon CCG, said: “This will improve the resilience of care at our community hospitals in the face of financial and workforce challenges.

“We are looking to continually improve services to support people in their local communities whether they are cared for at home or in hospital and this is one step forward on that journey.

“We want to thank all the local people and organisations who have been involved throughout the development of the plans over the last couple of years. We held over 30 public meetings or drop-in sessions and have taken their comments into consideration when making our decision today.

“Of course we understand that some people will always want to have community beds in their own area and this decision may disappoint them but making sure everyone has the same level of access to services is very important.

“Over the last few years the hospital provider Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has had to temporarily close some community hospital inpatient units due to staffing issues. Consolidating from 10 to seven units means we will have much more robust staffing at our hospitals in the future.”

The process in which we developed the changes agreed today will now be considered at the Devon Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14 September 2015.

The timeline for implementing the changes will depend on the outcomes and feedback from this Scrutiny meeting.

A summary of the changes agreed today is below:

Hospital Beds pre-decision Beds post-decision Comments

Exeter Community Hospital 20 medical 20 medical No change

Exmouth 22 medical + 8 stroke 16 medical 8 stroke beds to Ottery St Mary Hospital

Crediton 3 medical + 7 stroke None 7 stroke beds to Ottery St Mary Hospital. Hub also under development

Okehampton 16 medical 16 medical No change

Tiverton 32 medical 32 medical No change

Axminster 10 medical None

Seaton 10 medical 24 medical

Sidmouth 18 medical 24 medical

Honiton 18 medical 16 medical

Ottery St Mary 10 medical + 0 stroke 0 Medical + 15 stroke

Moretonhampstead 0 medical 0 medical Hub under development

Budleigh Salterton 0 medical 0 medical Hub under development

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