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Recommendations for future of community health services

​The public consultation ran for 12 weeks - from 1 September 2016 to 23 November 2016

Members of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body are being recommended to stick with proposals to switch resources from hospital bed-based care to community-based care so as to improve health services and meet increasing demand.

They are being recommended to agree at their meeting on 26 January to the closure of four community hospitals – in Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton – so as to free up resources to improve support to people at home in a move designed to improve health promotion, and reduce the number of people admitted and kept in hospital unnecessarily.

But in light of feedback from last year’s consultation, they are being asked to approve three main changes to the proposals first published last April:

  • Evaluate Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Hospital as a base for the area’s local health and wellbeing centre, which would include GPs.
  • Recognise that demand for x-ray and for a minor injuries unit (MIU) in the Bay should be met by proposals to establish an urgent care centre on the Torbay Hospital site.
  • Enable specialist outpatient clinics to continue in Paignton where the volume of patients makes this a more appropriate option to travelling to Brixham, Totnes or Torbay.

In response to public pressure to retain hospitals, the CCG’s clinically led Community Services Transformation Group states: “It is not sustainable to continue to spend as much money on hospital-based care where the evidence shows that supporting people in or near their own homes delivers better outcomes for many patients.”

All suggestions put forward by the public as an alternative to the proposed model of care were evaluated in a three-stage process by the CCG.

This involved representatives of organisations such as community hospitals’ Leagues of Friends, voluntary groups and local councils. The reasons for not pursuing any other changes are set out in the report to the CCG’s Governing Body, which is on the organisation’s website.

In line with commitments made during consultation, the CCG Governing Body is also being asked to approve a series of parameters that must be met before any changes to existing services – such as MIUs open seven days a week, x-rays available for at least four hours a day, and alternative intermediate care services – are in place before hospitals close.

In making these recommendations, the Governing Body is being advised that the proposals will deliver the changes needed to improve services and to support more people effectively in a way that is both sustainable and affordable.

The full report is available here.