Honiton: Trust to re-open The Bungalow

THE Bungalow in Honiton will re-open and play a full part in the transition towards a new model of care for dementia patients, Devon Partnership NHS Trust has revealed.

THE Bungalow in Honiton will re-open and play a "full part" in the transition towards a new model of care for dementia patients, Devon Partnership NHS Trust has revealed.

The news follows a meeting between the Trust's chief executive, Iain Tulley, and town councillors Alf Boom and Vernon Whitlock. Dr David Rampersad, of Honiton Surgery, and Heather Penwarden, who formerly worked at The Bungalow, also attended the meeting.

Plans have been approved in principle for major capital investment in the Trust's hospital wards for people with mental health needs.

The plans, due to be finalised next month, could see a multi-million pound investment in Exeter, Torbay and Barnstaple. Renovation work could start as early as next spring.

Dr David Somerfield, the Trust's medical director, said: "This investment marks the first step in the process of improving services for older people with mental health needs. It is great news for everyone using these services, as well as their families, carers and our staff.

"We recognise that many of our services for older people have not kept pace with those for younger adults. The hospital wards in which we care for older people are generally less modern and provide lower standards of privacy and dignity. In addition, many older people do not yet have access to some of the most fundamental community services available to younger adults, including crisis support and home treatment. This has to change.

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"Above all else, we are very clear that we have to significantly increase the range and depth of community services and further reduce the level of dependency on hospital beds. We have a rapidly expanding population of older people with an ever increasing level of need for services.

"By 2021, around one person in nine over 65 in Devon will have dementia, and many others will have other mental illnesses requiring specialist help and support. We have to put plans in place to meet the needs of this growing number of people - and do it within the limited resources at our disposal. We know we can't achieve this by leaving things as they are. We won't be able to provide care for all the people who need it, and we won't be able to provide the right type of care either.

"By this, I mean proper early intervention and care planning for people with dementia, robust crisis and home treatment services when people need them and high quality support for carers."

Councillor Vernon Whitlock told the Herald: "Closing The Bungalow without consultation and without providing replacement services has sold the people of Honiton and District short.

"The plans to re-open The Bungalow in the Spring as part of the restructuring of services are to be welcomed.

"However, we will be looking to the Trust for a promised statement outlining how services are to be maintained prior to restructuring.