Hospital beds move plan is put on hold

Seaton Hospital

Seaton Hospital - Credit: Archant

Public will be consulted on a scheme to temporarily transfer in-patient services from Axminster to Seaton

Controversial plans to temporarily move inpatient beds from Axminster Hospital to Seaton this winter have been put on hold.

In a surprise development, the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has halted its decision and launched a four-week public consultation over whether the transfer should take place.

In October, the trust announced a plan to temporarily merge the beds at Seaton from the beginning of January to resolve significant patient safety risks at both sites. The risks centre on having rotas where there is only one registered nurse working on their own as the sole professional looking after up to 10 patients.

Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive, said the trust had acted in good faith when making the initial decision but has found that there is confusion about the proposals and that more needed to be done to involve people in the decision making.

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She said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to apologise to the community and encourage people to participate in our consultation on whether temporarily merging inpatient services at Seaton is the best course of action.”

The proposal is that inpatient beds at Axminster are transferred to Seaton to offer 18 beds serving both communities rather than 10 in each hospital. The questions being asked are:

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? Do you agree with the proposal to temporarily transfer inpatient beds from Axminster to Seaton?

? Do you prefer any other option outline in the consultation document?

? Do you feel we have correctly identified the patient safety concerns and risks?

? Do you think there is an alternative option we have not considered?

The four-week consultation began yesterday (December 2) and runs until December 30. The consultation paper is available on the trust’s website at while hard copies can be collected from Axminster and Seaton hospitals.

Local people can have their say by:

? Attending a consultation meeting at Axminster Hospital from 2pm to 4pm on the four Mondays, December 8, 15, 22 and 29. To make an appointment, please call 01271 322460 or email

? Emailing

? Writing to Dr Alison Diamond, Chief Executive, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4JB

A meeting in public will be held in January to discuss the feedback from the consultation.

A spokesman for the Axminster Hospital Support Group said: “Whilst this is a welcome first step, the campaign to persuade the Clinical Commissioning Group to drop its flawed plans to (permanently) remove inpatient beds from Axminster Hospital continues.”

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