Seaton & Area Health Matters

Report of Seaton meeting with RD&E published

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Agreed notes from the meeting of Seaton Area Health Matters with the RD&E Trust are now on the Health Matters website.

Seaton Area Health Matters reports on its activities to date

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Jack Rowland, chair of Seaton Area Health Matters, has sent me this report:

So, what have we been doing recently?

From conversations earlier this year when we invited representatives from the statutory and voluntary health sectors the following 10 priorities emerged:

  1. To take an area approach for the Axe Valley, not just Seaton.
  2. Improving communication and co-ordination between voluntary organisations.
  3. Maintaining and extending NHS services in GP practices and at Seaton Hospital.
  4. The challenges in older age groups (chronic diseases, loneliness and isolation).
  5. The challenges in younger age groups (drug and alcohol addiction, housing, poverty).
  6. Mental health support.
  7. Transport difficulties to access services.
  8. Promoting health and wellbeing 
  9. Communication on what is available.
  10. Co-ordination and ownership to tackle the challenges.

In order to look at these challenges a Steering Group was established and the membership is:

Jack Rowland (Chair) Seaton Town Councillor

Geoff Pook (Vice Chair) East Devon District Councillor

Marcus Hartnell East Devon District Councillor / Seaton Town Councillor

Victoria Parry Food & Wellbeing Charity / Clinical Commissioning Group Community Representative 

Martin Shaw Devon County Councillor / Seaton Town Councillor

Roger Trapani Clinical Commissioning Group Community Representative

Tina Trapani Devon Senior Voice Representative

Dr Mark Welland Seaton G.P. & Chair of Seaton Hospital League of Friends

From this steering group 2 working parties have been looking at these priorities as many of the challenges are inter-connected.

One working party is producing a report to put forward a case for maintaining and extending NHS services as part of a health hub. A meeting has been arranged for 5 November at Seaton Hospital with senior representatives from the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

The other working party has been collating information to establish the details of the voluntary organisations in our area that are involved in some way in health and well-being. The intention is to show the information, with the permission of the organisation, on this website and to also have a dedicated phone line available for people to use who may not have access to the internet. When the phone line is available we will publicise this on this website and by issuing a press release and using advertising posters around the town as well as social media.

We are also considering carrying out a Seaton Area survey to give everyone the opportunity to tell us their views on what they want to see in the area for health care and wellbeing provision – this would be in the form of both a paper format and online. 

Devon STP: there is ‘no rush’ to make decisions on community hospital buildings. What’s more, it hasn’t agreed what a ‘health hub’ is or how many there should be

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Speaking for the Devon NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), Dr Sonja Manton told a meeting of county councillors this morning that there was ‘no rush’ to decide the future of community hospital buildings.

Contrary to Dr Simon Kerr’s suggestion in April that decisions would be made in July, Dr Manton was clear that the end of July is a deadline for the Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to bid for capital funding from NHS England, but not for decisions about the local estate. If these two were previously linked, they are not any more.

She also confirmed what she said to me some months ago, that no decisions will be made about buildings until after the conclusion of the ‘community conversations’ such as Seaton Area Health Matters and Honiton Health Matters, launched earlier this year, and that discussions are still going on about the distribution of local services.

Dr Manton, who was launching the STP’s two-year report, also stated that there was no agreement yet on what a ‘health hub‘ is, or how many of them there should be.

There is no room at all for complacency, however, since the report states:

We know a large amount of space in our community hospital buildings is underused. The revenue cost of our community hospital estates is in the order of £20 million; money the NHS could use to improve other services. Working with other public sector partners, as part of the One Public Estate initiative, we will review the space that is required to deliver care, and plan to consolidate the number of sites to free up estate and generate money, which can be re-invested in technology and infrastructure.

It also appeared from the meeting that midwife-led maternity services are unlikely to be restored in Honiton or Okehampton any time soon. References were made to staffing difficulties and also safety issues in case of difficulties during birth.

Seaton & Area Health Matters holds successful second meeting – steering group set up and agreement on Axe Valley approach

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On Thursday, the follow-up took place to the inaugural meeting of Seaton & Area Health Matters. After an informative presentation by Richard Anderson, manager of the community team for Seaton, Exmouth and Sidmouth based at Seaton Hospital, the meeting broke into workshops, and when we reconvened agreed on an approach which envisages an Axe Valley health hub centred on Seaton and Axminster hospitals. Axminster is having a similar process of discussions and we will liaise with them down the line. The Seaton steering group will meet shortly – members (I haven’t got the full list) include Cllr Jack Rowland, Dr Mark Welland and myself.