Plans for more hospital beds across Devon

The NHS in Devon plans to create more than 100 new hospital beds across the county.

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BBC News

The measure is one part of a plan to reduce the waits of patients attending emergency departments.

It will be paid for using £24m of government money to help Devon’s hospitals discharge patients faster.  

There are also plans for virtual wards where clinical support can include remote monitoring using apps, wearables and medical devices.

Figures from Torbay, North Devon District, University Hospitals Plymouth and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals show that hundreds of patients had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen last month.

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth will get £5m of the money as one of the six most challenged hospitals nationally.

It must be spent on radically reducing ambulance handover delays and includes plans to create more than 40 extra acute hospital beds, and the staff to cover them.

Torbay Hospital is to get 37 new beds, the RD&E gets 18 more, and North Devon District will get 11 additional beds, along with the additional staff needed.

All these plans were put before Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday.

Councillor Jess Bailey said she was waiting to see the effect of the changes before making a judgement.

“Additional funding is very much welcome but how is that actually going to translate into an improved service for our residents,” she said.

The plans also include 85 virtual hospital beds which will be introduced across the county, with plans for the first of them to go live in December.

They allow patients to remain at home if they wish to and communicate with their clinical team, who can remotely monitor observations like blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.