Royal Devon & Exeter Trust
A patient tells me of waiting 11 months for hip replacements in @RDEhospitals – and it’s going to get worse this winter. The RD&E boasted of cutting ‘elective admissions’ by 5 per cent last year, but this is a shameful failing of the Trust and @NEWDevonCCG.
From a constituent: ‘I am writing to you with another example of the impact and stupidity of reducing beds in local community hospitals. I am presently on the waiting list for hip replacement surgery at the RD&E. This waiting list is currently 11 months, compared with the Government guidelines of 18 weeks.
‘During a follow-up phone call with the RD&E last week, I was told that winter health problems were already causing a shortage of beds and the knock-on effect will be further delays for people on waiting lists for serious surgery. Clearly, beds in community hospitals could have been used to help with winter health emergencies.’
Hip replacements are called ‘elective surgery’ and the RD&E Trust boasted earlier this year that it had reduced the number of these admissions by 5 per cent. As I pointed out to the Health Scrutiny Committee at the time, this might be something to be pleased about if lifestyle changes, etc., meant that people didn’t need so many operations – but the evidence is to the contrary. It has been achieved by lengthening waiting lists for patients who suffer pain and discomfort for months or even years on end.
The lack of priority for ‘elective’ admissions is one of the most shameful failings of the NHS in Devon, alongside the mounting delays in treatment for cancer. Both these problems are repeatedly brushed under the carpet by local NHS leaders.
Seaton Health Matters has constructive meeting with RD&E about health services in the area, and we look forward to working together for the best solutions
Jack Rowland, Geoff Pook, Dr Mark Welland and I, representing Seaton Area Health Matters, met Professor Em Wilkinson Bryce and Adel Jones of the RD&E at Seaton Hospital yesterday to discuss the future of health provision in the area. All agreed it was a constructive meeting, and we look forward to working closely with the RD&E on plans for health, wellbeing and community activities centred on the Hospital.
One of our next steps will be to have a detailed discussion with colleagues in Axminster, who also met the RD&E recently, to formulate an Axe Valley approach. Notes of the Seaton meeting are being prepared, and once I have these I will make more details available.
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?
FORCE cancer charity funds chemotherapy first in Okehampton – this is exactly the kind of service we need in Seaton
Encouraging news – the RD&E and FORCE have agreed that the cancer charity will deliver chemotherapy to patients in Okehampton Community Hospital.
The RD&E press release also says ‘It is hoped that the service will also be offered at a third location in East Devon later this year.’
We have an active local fund-raising group for FORCE – I was at a well-attended coffee morning in Colyton Town Hall three months ago – and this is exactly the kind of service that we would benefit from in the wider Seaton area, with our elderly population. This is the kind of thing we need to discuss in the community conversation on health matters which will take place in March, and I very much hope FORCE will be able to come.
The press release adds:
The charity began funding a pilot outreach chemotherapy project at Tiverton Hospital in July. The feedback from patients and nursing staff has been so positive that it is being rolled out as quickly as possible in Okehampton.
The benefits to patients include:
- Treatment closer to home so less travelling time and expense
- Easier parking
- Quieter location and treatment area
- Reduced waiting time for treatment, both in Okehampton and Exeter
- Experienced oncology staff from the hospital to deliver treatment
- Access to additional FORCE services to support you and your family
CCG, RD&E speakers at Honiton community event to begin ‘co-designing and co-producing’ local health services/activities – we need a similar meeting in Seaton too
The new model of care is working, they say, but patients who could have been treated in Seaton Hospital are still bed-blocking in the RD&E
Below is the RD&E’s latest publicity leaflet for the ‘new model of care’ boasting ‘no complaints’ from people who were treated between 28 August and 10 September. On the reverse side it features Doug – is it a coincidence that he is from Seaton? – who has had a knee amputation and is being cared for at home after two weeks on an acute ward. He says, ‘I cannot praise enough the wonderful care and treatment I have received right through from the surgical team to the community healthcare professionals. The skills and attention to detail they have shown is remarkable. It’s been a pleasure having them in my home.’
I am sure that the dedicated professionals working in the new system are doing their best for the patients. But are all the people who would have been transferred to the community hospitals actually getting the treatment at home which they are promised by ‘Your Future Care’? At the same time I received this comment from a Seaton resident: ‘A friend of mine’s husband has been in the RD&E for about 10 days. He could have come home 4 days ago, but there was no home care arranged for him – no one available to do the job, so his wife is paying privately to get help, and he will now be coming home some time on Sunday. He will have been bed blocking for 1 WEEK. It says it all doesn’t it?’