Seaton & Area Health Matters
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
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
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.