“Seaton and Honiton Hospitals may be at risk, local GP and chair of the NEW Devon CCG’s Eastern Locality, Dr Simon Kerr reportedly revealed at a meeting with health campaigners last month.
Dr Kerr was apparently speaking of the long-awaited Estates Strategy, which will list all the assets held by the local NHS and what it plans to do with them.
NEW Devon CCG is in considerable financial difficulty. Devon is one of three most financially challenged health trusts in the country.
The background is that 12 community hospitals across Eastern Devon were acquired by the private company (wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health) NHS Property Services, last year.
As yet, we haven’t heard about the fate of the remaining 10 community hospitals now in the ownership of NHS Property Services. This of course, includes our beloved Ottery Hospital, as well as Exmouth, Sidmouth, Whipton, Okehampton and Crediton.
Many of these hospitals, including Seaton, Honiton, Ottery St Mary and Okehampton and Whipton, have sadly now been stripped of their beds in cost cutting measures. But they still are home to a range of services and clinics that are very much needed locally.
Up until now, NHS England has been picking up the tab for the extortionate rents charged by NHS PS, of well over £3m a year, across the area.
A stupid stupid system, set up to fail. All over the country health trusts are being forced to sell off estate because it can’t afford the ridiculous rents charged by NHS PS for a building that used to be in NHS ownership.
Honiton Hospital has a treatment centre and is home to East Devon’s out of hours GP service.
The idea that the building could be lost and with it the treatment centre and out of hours service is totally ludicrous and appalling. The RD&E’s A&E department is full to capacity much of the time and staff are struggling to manage the volume of patients.
It means someone unwell living in the far east of the area – Axminster, for example, would have to travel around an hour to Exeter, to be seen by a GP if they were unwell out of working hours. It is quite unacceptable.
The amazing maternity unit which has been ‘temporarily’ closed for the best part of a year, was also based at Honiton Hospital.
There are so many cuts to the health service now it is difficult to keep up with them, let alone fight them.
Cllr Shaw has written to the CCG chair, Dr Tim Burke demanding assurances that the buildings remain open.
I have asked for an urgent item on the next Health and Adult Scrutiny Committee agenda, which is held on Thursday 7 June.
I will keep you posted.