More closures at community hospitals

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The Acute Services Review, part of the Devon NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), proposes the closure of maternity units at Newton Abbot, Tiverton, Okehampton and Honiton – the last two hospitals of course designated, with Seaton, to lose inpatient beds too. Read a summary and Claire Wright’s comment.

A frustrating day, but further chances on Thursday and in July to challenge the CCG

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The Health Scrutiny Committee meeting at County Hall yesterday was incredibly frustrating for the 60 or so supporters of Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton hospitals who attended. It resolved nothing and there will be another meeting before the end of July to consider the matter again (I will tell you when the date is fixed).
You can watch the meeting at https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/288543. The speakers in the public participation at the beginning were good, much better than most of the committee discussion. My speech is at 0.34.50. You may have seen that we also made a good splash on regional TV.
There WAS progress, I think, in pinning down the irrationality of the decision to close Seaton’s beds. Speeches supporting Seaton were made by Martin Pigott, Vice-Chair of Seaton Town Council, Mike McAlpine, Chair of the committee for the Axe Valley Health Hub, Cllr Ian Hall of Axminster, as well as myself. The issue was picked up on the committee, especially by Cllr Hilary Ackland, who twice challenged Dr Sonja Manton of the CCG on the issue. Manton declined to answer Ackland’s specific question.
I feel we can build on this at the re-run meeting. We also have an opportunity to challenge the CCG (who are answering questions from councillors) at EDDC’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday at 6pm. EDDC doesn’t have any power but I think we should keep up the pressure on the CCG. I have put down to speak. If anyone else can do it – email Debbie Meakin dmeakin@eastdevon.gov.uk.
Would anyone who can come to this meeting – whether to speak or not – let me know (cllrmartinshaw@gmail.com)?
Thanks to all who came and who sent emails (they really had an effect).

CAN YOU COME TO COUNTY HALL ON MONDAY to support the campaign for Seaton & Honiton hospital beds?

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We will be asking the committee to use its power to refer the decision to close our hospital beds to the Secretary of State for Health. This is our best opportunity to halt the closure programme.

We will be meeting on the main steps of County Hall from 1 pm to protest against the closure decisions, together with people from Okehampton (whose beds are also threatened) and other parts of Devon. Tell your friends and bring placards!

The meeting starts at 2.15 and we want as many people as possible to be in the public gallery to support our 6 speakers in the public participation session at the beginning of the meeting. As a Councillor (but not a member of the committee), I will be speaking later when we reach the item.

Howard and Anne West are organising a bus to take people from Colyford and Seaton to the meeting. Please email annewest@lineone.net AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you would like a seat on the bus (£9).

20170614_19363760 people packed Marshlands, Seaton, last night for the planning meeting which called this demonstration. Dr Mark Welland, Seaton GP and Chair of the Hospital League of Friends, addressed the meeting which was chaired by Jack Rowland, Mayor of Seaton.

My case for the Health Scrutiny Committee to refer the hospital beds decision to the Secretary of State

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On Monday 19 June (2.15), Devon County Council Health Scrutiny Committee will consider the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s responses to 14 questions asked of the CCG by the Committee. If the Committee is not satisfied, it has the legal power to refer the CCG’s decisions to the Secretary of State for Health. (http://democracy.devon.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=429&MId=2581&Ver=4)
I have sent this 6-page letter to the Chair of the Committee, Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, showing why the the CCG’s replies are inadequate, their decisions still demonstrably flawed, and the Committee should use its power to refer them.
I shall be speaking at the Committee, along with other representatives of the Seaton, Honiton and Axminster communities which are worst affected by these decisions. My main points are:
  1. Plans to halve the numbers of community beds do not take into account that the numbers of older people in Devon will more than double in the next two decades.
  2. East Devon needs more beds than other areas because it has the oldest population in Devon and this will continue to grow.
  3. Community beds are crucial to older patients without transport and when they are distant many relatives will have huge difficulty visiting their loved ones.
  4. Savings from the closures will be small. Both financial logic and CCG planning suggest that the real agenda is to close a number of hospitals.
  5. The CCG’s consultation was flawed because it gave no option to keep Honiton’s beds, and the CCG ignored the stronger support for Seaton from people who responded.
  6. The CCG’s reasons for choosing Sidmouth over Seaton are based on misleading use of evidence about population and age distributions (see table below, explained in letter).
  7. The concentration of beds in Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exmouth will leave the eastern margins of East Devon entirely without. The CCG’s claim that this is ‘a more even geographic spread’ is entirely false.
  8. The CCG ignored the fact that Seaton also serves the Axminster area, and has reneged on the commitment it gave when it recently closed Axminster Hospital’s beds, that beds would continue to be available in Seaton.
  9. Communities in the Seaton, Axminster and Honiton are angry about the decision and expect the Health Scrutiny Committee to refer it to the Secretary of State.
We are holding a public meeting in Seaton on Wednesday 14th (7 pm, Marshlands Centre, Harbour Road) to plan the community presence at the Health Scrutiny Committee.
Figure-3.2-Population-in-Selected-Age-Bands-by-town-2014-768x501

 

Colyford traffic calming under discussion

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IMG_0168.JPGI met yesterday with members of the Colyford Speedwatch team, who are campaigning for traffic calming in the village. We discussed various possible measures, including a crossing and a mini-roundabout on the A3052, and a Gateway on Seaton Road where the cycle way meets the road (Colyton Parish Council have already supported a funding bid for this proposal, and I reported on my discussions at their meeting yesterday evening).

I hope to meet soon with Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Devon Cabinet member for Highways, and the Speedwatch teams in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill (Seaton) will soon be convening a new meeting with the County and Neil Parish MP, which will follow up from an initial meeting held in March.

EDDC posts Seaton Beach Management Plan information

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Following the public consultation on 25 May, the information and feedback form are now online at http://eastdevon.gov.uk/consultation-and-surveys/seaton-beach-management-plan-consultation/

Funding to make properties safe from flooding

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Devon County Council is offering a funding opportunity that may be of interest to residents whose properties are affected by flooding.
 
At the Cabinet meeting held on 8th March 2017 an item under the Flood Risk Action Plan for 2017/18 highlighted the initiative to introduce a Property Level Resilience (PLR) Grant Scheme. This will give vulnerable property owners the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to make their properties more resilient against the risk of flooding. The scheme, which will have a limited annual budget, is broadly based on previous opportunities and pilots released by the government and will follow a strict prioritisation criteria to ensure those in greatest need will be successful in securing the grant.
 
Through Defra’s 6 Year programme (2015-2021) Devon County Council has an allocation of £50,000 each year for the next 4 years to support this scheme and propose to match this figure from the annual Flood Risk Management budget, subject to availability, and further supported with a £10,000 allocation from Local Levy. The average cost of providing PLR to a single property is approx. £5,000, therefore it is anticipated that around 20-25 properties could benefit from this scheme each year. With over 1500 properties having suffered internal flooding in recent years there is the need to target properties at high risk, where they are unlikely to benefit from any catchment or community wide flood improvement scheme in the near future. Funding will be allocated in accordance with the strict prioritisation criteria set out in the Policy for PLR Grant and not on a first come first served basis. There can therefore be no guarantee of funding for every applicant.
 
For the opportunity to be considered for a PLR grant the property owner must first review the policy and if they believe that they meet the criteria they need to complete the Application for PLR Grant. These can both be provided in paper format for those that do not have access to the internet, by telephoning Flood Risk on 01392 383000.