It’s worth having say on healthcare


In the Sidmouth Herald of May 23 there was a short article headed ‘Have your say on healthcare’, which may not have attracted much attention and possibly did not alert readers to the large potential changes that are being planned in community care, particularly with respect to community hospitals.

The overall aim of the changes – to continue to improve quality without increasing costs – is clearly a tall order.

Most people would not take exception to the main recommendations in the document, Transforming Community Services, which is designed to set the strategic direction and delivery arrangements for community health and integrated health and care services in North, East and West Devon.

At consultation meetings last year most attendees agreed with the key objectives, but of course you cannot increase provision, improve quality and maintain all existing services as well. The key recommendations are:

l to help people stay well, with a greater emphasis on prevention;

l integration of health and social care services in the community;

l increasing the range of out-of-hospital services;

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l developing the range of use of community hospitals.

It is the shift in use of community hospitals that may concern many people, particularly people who are elderly and those with limited access to transport.

The intention is to shift from a ‘bed focused’ service to keeping people out of hospital.

Some of our existing community hospitals will lose their clinical care facilities and become ‘hubs’ for health and wellbeing, including clinics and support services.

This sounds fine for most of the time, but there are many situations where the RD&E is not the most suitable provision when needs become acute and care cannot be maintained at home.

The draft strategy can be read in full at and there is a short video to watch that gives summary detail.

There are a number of ways you can comment on the draft strategy:

1) Fill in the response form and return by email or post – details on the website.

2) Telephone one of the community relations managers to discuss your views by contacting Keri Ross on 01392 267680 or Sally Parker on 01752 398737.

3) Join in meetings or focus discussions that will be advertised soon.

Di Fuller

Sid Valley Patient Participation Group