Swire sees the light on hospital beds (because it could be a big vote loser?)

Owl is concerned that local MP Hugo Swire is very, very slow in the uptake. After resting on his laurels by seeing community beds in his constituency staying while those in Neil Parish’s patch of EDDC have all gone (except for Tiverton – not part of East Devon which can’t be closed because it is a PFZi hospital), he finally wakes up and realises that it has left a black hole that will stop many people voting for either of them next time! AND result in people switching their votes to Claire Wright (Independent, East Devon) and maybe Caroline Kolek (Labour, Tiverton and Honiton)!

Sir Hugo Swire said the area’s demographics are 20 years ahead of the national average and it was ‘absolutely ridiculous’ the two services should have separate funding.

This comes after Dr Mike Slot raised concerns to Devon’s health watchdog that carers are not available to implement ‘care at home’ – the model the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) moved to after it closed 140 community hospital beds across the county.

Dr Slot said: “The loss of community hospital beds was intended to be offset by increasing the capacity of community care so that patients could be cared for in their own homes.

“This may or may not have been realistic since many of the patients in the hospital system cannot be managed in the community, even with excellent community services.

“However, with or without community hospital beds, it is an excellent idea to expand community services so that all those patients who can be cared for out of hospital can remain at home.

“Unfortunately, there is not sufficient capacity in the home care services to do this job.

“When GPs ring the single point of access number asking for rapid response or night sitting, the carers are not available.”

In a joint statement, the CCG and provider trust the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital acknowledged that recruitment had been ‘challenging’ in a few places, but the bodies were working hard alongside other agencies to address the issues.

A spokeswoman said more than £2.5million had been redirected into growing and strengthening their community teams so more people can be cared for at home.

They added: “A large part of the reinvestment has been to increase the number of nurses, therapists and support workers and in most areas we have successfully recruited the additional staff.”

Social care was brought under the remit of health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the last cabinet reshuffle – a move welcomed by Sir Hugo, who said: “I think in future there will be far greater use of hubs.

“We must look to do the same with social care. It requires brave, strategic thinking. We have to get it right.

“The East Devon demographic is where the country is going to be in 20 years’ time. Sidmouth is even ahead of that. East Devon should be a template – use us as a guinea pig for integration of health and social care.”


One thought on “Swire sees the light on hospital beds (because it could be a big vote loser?)

  1. The CCG promised us faithfully that they would not close community hospital beds and implement care in the community … oops that was the last Conservative NHS fiasco a decade or more ago – I mean Hospital at Home (as opposed to … um … Hospital at Hospital??) until they were completely prepared and resourced. And they promised this despite critical reports about their pilot in North Devon. At best the CCG were making empty promises, at worst deliberate lies.

    I would also point out that the CCG claimed an abundance of positive clinical studies showing that this would have improved outcomes, but when I looked into the detail of this, of the list of clinical studies they referenced in their overview, they only published the details of a small proportion, and even those were at best luke warm about whether they were beneficial. I also have an email where the CEO of the CCG admits that the studies that were published were not actually published until after the consultation closed – so it was not possible to analyse these and comment as part of the consultation.

    So why, exactly, should we want to trust the CCG again with doing something (literally) bleeding-edge, like joined up Health and Social Care? Even if, or perhaps especially because, Huge Swine is promoting it.

    Perhaps it would be better for the CCG to get Care at Home working properly first before embarking on another major change for which there are no successful pilots.

    But, to be fair to our MP (who I know reads this blog because he told me that he knows I comment here) let’s offer him the chance to make his case here for us being guinea pigs for this and to give us his evidence that this would be positive for East Devon and not yet another destruction of our health care system.

    Or is he too scared to do so? Or perhaps spouting rhetoric that has no evidence to show it is a good idea? Come on Hugo, be a man and make your case (rather than you did at the last election when you refused to attend hustings and be accountable)!!


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