Health bosses say ‘new model of care’ for eastern Devon will address current failings

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton. - Credit: Archant

Community hospital beds under threat in Sidmouth, Exmouth, Seaton, Whipton and Tiverton

Health bosses have argued their plans for a ‘new model of care’ will address current failings identified in a major independent report.

A public consultation is underway on proposals from the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) – which would see the loss of 72 community hospital beds across eastern Devon.

Health bosses argue their ‘case for change’ will tackle the increasing strain being put on hospitals that is highlighted in the annual State of Care report from the independent regulator Care Quality Commission (CGC).

The CQC findings highlight an increase in the number of people waiting to be discharged from hospital and elderly or frail patients being treated in accident and emergency departments (A&E) due – in part - to a shortage of suitable care options in the community

Chair of CCG’s eastern locality, GP David Jenner, said: “In Your Future Care, the aim is to provide effective and easily-accessible care and support in the community so people are not being sent to hospital just because services are not available to look after them at home.

“People tell us they prefer to be treated in their own homes if it is safe and appropriate to do so.

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“If however they need hospital admission we should aim for them to return home quickly as soon as their condition allows.”

The four options being considered are the loss of:

A) 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 beds in Seaton and 16 beds in Exmouth.

B) 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 beds in Sidmouth and 16 beds in Exmouth.

C) 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 beds in Seaton and 16 beds in Whipton.

D) 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 in Sidmouth and 16 beds in Whipton.

The proposals have been met with dismay and outrage from communities, hospital staff, representatives and campaigners.

CCG bosses say they recognise the impact on local health services of an ageing population, more people with long-term conditions and a challenging economic climate and it is these factors that drive the proposed new model of care.

They claim that every day in north, east and west Devon, up to 600 people are in hospitals - 100 of these in community hospitals - that no longer have a medical need to be there.

The CQC report states: “The evidence suggests we may be approaching a tipping point. The combination of a growing and ageing population, people with more long-term conditions and a challenging economic climate means greater demand on services and more problems for people in accessing care.

“This is translating to increased A&E attendances, emergency admissions and delays to people leaving hospital.”

The commission reports that bed occupancy rates exceeded 91 per cent in January to March 2016 – the highest quarterly rate for at least six years.

The consultation document can be viewed at, as well as libraries, GP surgeries, hospitals and leisure centres.

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