Towns unite to fight for better healthcare provision

Axminster Hospital. Picture Chris Carson

Axminster Hospital. Picture Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

Axminster, Seaton and lyme Regis health campaigners join forces to form the Axe Valley Health Forum

Steve Holt

Steve Holt - Credit: Archant

Three towns are joining forces in a bid to improve healthcare provision in the Axe and Lym valleys.

Seaton, Axminster and Lyme Regis have formed a powerful alliance which will represent a combined population of some 40,000 residents.

Working together as the Axe Valley Health Forum the group believes it will have a stronger voice.

Representatives from Axminster Health Needs, LymeForward and Seaton Area Health Matters set up the Forum after consulting residents over their needs.

Jack Rowland

Jack Rowland - Credit: Archant

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The new organisation will work with the NHS on the delivery of a health and care model that fits its demographic.

The vision is to establish a 'place based system of care' to meet the specific needs of the people of the Axe Valley where all voices within the community are listened to and everyone has an opportunity to participate in the design of services.

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The aim will be to improve health and wellbeing for everyone living within the place identified as the Axe Valley - this includes Seaton, Axminster, Lyme Regis and the surrounding communities.

The Forum will consist of elected community representatives, health and social care providers and volunteers.

Its prime objective will be to identify where improvement is needed in service delivery and then prioritise those needs from a community perspective. It will also identify existing good practice and encourage its spread across the whole of the Axe Valley.

Jack Rowland, chairman of Seaton Area Health Matters, said: "Our group has always seen the provision of effective health services as an Axe Valley issue where we need to take a co-ordinated and collaborative approach with our colleagues in Axminster and extending over the county border to include Lyme Regis."

Ken Lavery, from LymeForward Health and Wellbeing, said his group "welcomes any initiative that improves access to quality health care for the residents of Lyme Regis, Uplyme and Charmouth. We have always said that boundary issues are an unnecessary block."

Steve Holt of Axminster Hospital League of Friends, said: "I know how difficult it is to get the health service providers seriously interested in communities with populations of 10,000 to 15,000. The joint approach between Seaton and Axminster to extend the Hospiscare at Home provision has shown what can be achieved when we pool our resources."

Devon county councill healthcare spokesman Richard Scott said the work that Axminster member Ian Hall and his colleagues were undertaking in the Axe Valley was 'fundamental in shaping the provision of health and social care at a community level'..

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