Seaton and Colyton GPs condemn hospital bed closures

PUBLISHED: 10:59 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 March 2017

Seaton Hospital will now be losing its inpatient beds.

Seaton Hospital will now be losing its inpatient beds.

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Local doctors say it is 'a cruel blow for the Axe Valley'

The GPs at Seaton and Colyton Medical Practice and Townsend House Surgery have expressed their dismay at the decision to axe all inpatient beds at Seaton Hospital.

They say the closure, as part of the latest round of health economies by New Devon CCG, is a cruel blow to the Axe Valley.

In a statement issued this week they told The Herald: “Since the earlier closure of Axminster, Seaton Hospital represents the only inpatient facility for residents of both towns.

“Coupled with the loss of Honiton Hospital, Sidmouth hospital has the only beds to cover the eastern part of Devon.

“Bed shortages this winter have seen The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital running at crisis levels so this policy seems misplaced as a way of reducing costs.

“The future plans of care in the community, with carers covering the most vulnerable in their own houses, undervalues the level and complexity of care that is offered as an inpatient and ignores the fact that there is a current shortage of qualified staff.

“End of life patients who cannot be supported at home may now end up admitted miles away from family and friends.

“Sadly, quality of care is steadily being eroded, and it is our most vulnerable patients who will be affected most by this closure.

“Challenging the decision seems futile as the alternative will be closure of Sidmouth Hospital and similar arguments will apply.

“It is the decision to focus on bed closures that needs contesting.”

** Explaining the reasons for the bed cuts Dr Tim Burke, chairman of NHS NEW Devon CCG, said: “We know we can do more to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and support a faster return home for our patients. Too many people are in hospitals when they don’t need to be there. Every day, up to 600 people are in hospitals (100 of these in community hospitals) who no longer have a medical need to be there.

“There is a growing body of evidence that the solution lies in developing community services outside hospital, which in turn reduces the numbers of people unnecessarily admitted to hospital. We need to be focussing more resources on providing better care for people away from hospitals.

“We will look at how we will implement the changes as soon as possible. This will include an assurance process that will involve consultant geriatricians, GPs and community representatives. Inpatient beds will only close when the assurance process has been completed.

“At this point, I want to personally thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation.”

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