Public consultation – ok for Brexit, not ok for NHS!
“A public consultation over which community beds health commissioners will axe in Exeter or East Devon has seen the majority of people vote for different oppositions, rather than the four being proposed.
NHS Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is planning to close 72 community hospital beds in Devon, and is due to make its decision this Thursday. In the options Tiverton hospital will definitely remain open, and Honiton and Okehampton will close. The fate of beds in Seaton, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Whipton remains uncertain.
The aim of the consultation document called Your Future Care is to provide care and support at home and in the community for the elderly and frail, where the various providers of services work together to promote the health and wellbeing of residents, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and supporting a faster return home.
The Your Future Care survey results show 624 people voted for other options such as suggesting different three site hospitals such as Okehampton, Tiverton and Exmouth; having four site options such as Tiverton, Sidmouth, Seaton, and Exmouth; and retaining all existing beds which accounted for 168 of responses.
The second most popular choice was option A – 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 beds in Seaton and 16 beds in Exmouth – with 554 votes, followed by option B with 159 votes, and option C – 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 beds in Seaton and 16 beds in Whipton – with 65 votes. The least popular was option D – 32 beds in Tiverton, 24 in Sidmouth and 16 beds in Whipton – with 50 votes.
During the consultation, the CCG’s governing body received five petitions. They included one from Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund which was signed by 5,497 to prevent the closure of Sidmouth Hospital’s inpatient ward; a petition signed by 3,579 people to save Okehampton Hospital beds, and 3,227 people signed a Hands off Honiton Hospital petition.
Also opposing proposals to reduce community beds is Community Hospitals Association (CHA), and Devon County Council has called for a halt in the plans while it calls on the government and NHS England to provide fair funding for health services in Devon.
Hard to reach groups were consulted during focus groups organised by Healthwatch Devon. No one option was most preferred, and people said they wanted services to be as close to home as possible. Many people felt enabling patients to remain at home and avoid a hospital stay is a good thing.
During the consultation a significant number of questions relating to how the New Model of Integrated Care (NMOC) will work in practice was raised, including concerns about a possible decline in patient safety for vulnerable groups such as the frail, elderly, and dementia patients.
While there was noticeable support for the principle of care at home, many correspondents felt the NMOC had not been suitably or clearly explained, so they were unable to support the proposal.
A high number of people raised topics such as fear of isolation, strain on carers and worsening patient outcomes for individuals with more seriousness illness.
The final decision will be made by NEW Devon CCG’s governing body at a publicly held meeting of NEW Devon CCG’s governing body at Exeter Racecourse at 1pm. It has previously stated its preferred choice as being option A.
More changes are also on the way. Devon’s acute hospital stroke, maternity and urgent care services are the latest to come under scrutiny as part of ongoing plans to transform the regions health care. By this summer, NEW Devon CCG and South Devon and Torbay CCG aims to have drawn up proposals for the future delivery of the three services.”