Seaton Hospital to lose its inpatient beds

Seaton Hospital will now be losing its inpatient beds.

Seaton Hospital will now be losing its inpatient beds. - Credit: Archant

Seaton Hospital is set to lose its inpatient beds as the NEW Devon CCG has decided to retain beds in Sidmouth Hospital instead.

Honiton Hospital will be losing its inpatient beds

Honiton Hospital will be losing its inpatient beds - Credit: Archant

Seaton Hospital is to lose all its in-patient beds, under changes agreed by health chiefs today (Thursday, March 2).

The decision was made by the governing body of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) following a 13-week ‘Your Future Care’ public consultation.

Under initial proposals Seaton was earmarked to retain its 18 beds.

But the CCG decision is that community inpatients beds at Sidmouth, Exmouth and Tiverton community hospitals will remain, while those at Seaton, Exeter (Whipton), Okehampton and Honiton will close.

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The changes will affect about 20 patients a week across the Eastern locality area – from Axminster in the East, Tiverton in the North, Exmouth in the South and Okehampton in the West.

An option for 24 beds at Seaton Hospital, rather than Sidmouth, had been the preferred option at the start of the consultation. However, officials say that analysis of material collected during the consultation and study of data on inequalities, led to Sidmouth emerging as the more appropriate location for beds.

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Honiton and Okehampton hospitals did not appear in any of the shortlisted options following the initial scoring process.

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.”

Hearther Penwarden Honiton Hospital League of Friends chairman today reacted angrily to the decision to close all their medical beds, saying they were deeply saddended.

She said: “We put forward cogent, substantiated reasons to have Honiton Hospital taken seriously as one of the sites under consideration in East Devon to retain it’s beds and feel disillusioned that our arguments fell on deaf ears and remain unconvinced as to the reasoning behind this radical step.

“This is without doubt the end of an era for our community hospital and without as yet any indication of what service will be put in place of the medical beds we are extremely concerned for the vulnerable and very sick people in our community. We pay tribute to all the nursing and admin staff on our medical ward who have carried on providing first class care to their patients through these most difficult of months.

“We will do all that we can to support a smooth transition from the old to the new style of care and and would advise anyone who has concerns about specific care to contact Healthwatch Devon on Freephone 0800 520 0640

“As a local health charity Honiton Hospital League of Friends will continue to carry out its responsibilities to support care needs in all our hospital departments including the Minor Injuries Unit, Maternity, Renal, Physiotherapy and Outpatient Clinics. We also support our community teams and will carry on as usual with all our fundraising activities.

“On a personal level I am extremely sorry that we have not managed to influence the outcome in a more positive way for the people of Honiton. All I can say is that we tried our best with some of us working long hours reading and writing reports and attending meetings and I have to say it has felt a bit like trying to halt a moving train.

“Barring a significant change in government policy about how we value our Community Hospitals I really don’t think there is anything else we could have done.”

East Devon’s MP, Sir Hugo Swire, has welcomed the announcement that inpatient beds in Sidmouth and Exmouth threatened with closure will be retained.

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