Still hope for hospital beds at Seaton and Honiton

PUBLISHED: 13:01 20 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:38 23 June 2017

Seaton Hospital. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Seaton Hospital. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

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Health chiefs asked to provide evidence their new ‘care at home’ model will be better for patients

Cllr Martin Shaw Cllr Martin Shaw

Calls to refer the decision to close hospital beds at Seaton and Honiton to the Health Minster have been put on hold.

Devon County Council’s health and adult care scrutiny committee on Monday decided to defer such action while it investigates the health authority’s evidence for saying its ‘care at home’ policy will be better for residents.

The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) says patients do better when treated in their own homes.

It has decided to reduce the number of hospital inpatient beds in the region from 143 to 72 – retaining those at Sidmouth but closing all those at Honiton and Seaton.

Campaigners claim it is driven by the need to save money and there is no evidence the new system will provide better care for residents in an area with one of the oldest populations in the county.

Dr Sonja Minton, director of strategy at the CCG, assured the committee that they will not introduce the bed cuts until they are sure the new model of care works and she invited members to sit in on their planning for it. If it was shown it could not be implemented, the decision to close the beds could be reversed.

The committee decided to seek further evidence the care at home model will work and hold a special meeting – open to the public – before the end of July when a final decision will be made on whether to refer the CCG decision to the Health Minster.

After the meeting, Seaton county councillor Martin Shaw said: “I am receiving more disturbing reports from patients’ relatives that people are being prevented from transferring from the RD&E and elsewhere to Seaton Community Hospital. I was therefore very disappointed that the health scrutiny committee postponed a decision on the closure of Seaton Hospital’s inpatient beds.

“Nevertheless, we presented a strong case that the NEW Devon CCG had made fundamental mistakes in its choice of Sidmouth over Seaton for the remaining 24 beds.

“Ian Hall, county councillor for Axminster, Martin Pigott, deputy mayor of Seaton, Mike McAlpine, chair of the Axe Valley Health Hub, and I, together presented an overwhelming case.

“When the scrutiny committee reconvenes, we will press them again to tell the CCG that it needs to change its decision and keep the Seaton beds.”

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