ENT returns to Seaton Hospital, but not Dermatology, as RD&E’s meeting with Seaton Area Health Matters to discuss local services is postponed for a month
Readers may recall that since April I have been querying the apparent withdrawal of ENT and Dermatology clinics from Seaton hospital. I have finally had an explanation. The ENT service at Seaton is provided is by Dr Rob Daniels, GP at Townsend House, who is directly commissioned by the CCG to provide GP with a Special Interest ENT and nurse-led ear suction. Apparently Dr Daniels was on 6 months’ sabbatical, but has now returned and had a full clinic booked for the 15th August.
Dermatology, on the other hand, was provided using a GP special interest service (GPwSI) provided by Dr Joe Pitt, who has left the area, and it is not currently being replaced. The RD&E says, ‘At the moment the majority of the dermatology activity for the east is taking place at Axminster where the dermatologists can provide minor ops. If the dermatologists feel a procedure needs a more complex intervention then patients are asked to have this undertaken at Heavitree.’ (Although in my knowledge, as I have told them, patients are sometimes referred directly to Heavitree.)
This is a shame since there was a substantial uptake for Dermatology in Seaton. We will have a chance to discuss its possible return when Seaton Area Health Matters, chaired by Jack Rowland, meets RD&E leaders to discuss the opportunities for local provision of services in general. This meeting, originally envisaged for this month, now looks like being in late October or early November.
Since the CCG will not announce decisions about the future of hospitals until after the conclusion of these discussions (which are also taking place in other towns), these will presumably be put back into 2019 – maybe even beyond the local elections in May?
Following news a couple of weeks ago that the Dermatology clinic in Seaton Hospital had been closed, whether permanently or not is not clear (it was GP-led and the GP stopped doing it, I am told), comes the information that Dermatology appointments are not currently available in Axminster, either. You have to go to Exeter, where they’re booking for June.
This is one of the most highly used specialities in both hospitals and it is a serious setback that it is not available locally!