Call for Sid Valley’s community to have a say over health matters

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton. - Credit: Archant

Forum seeks to identify people’s concerns

The people of the Sid Valley are being asked to speak out about current concerns in health and social care provision within their community.

A new forum of representatives from provider and voluntary organisations in the health and care sector is seeking to identify day-to-day problems so it can work to address issues within the town. These can range from combating isolation in the elderly to self-harm in young people.

Set up in the wake of a controversial decision to close inpatient bed units at some community hospitals, the Sidmouth Health and Care Forum aims to represent the voice of the people.

Forum chairman Di Fuller said: “There was disappointment and anger when recommendations from the stakeholder group against closing inpatient beds were not listened to by the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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“The CCG then asked the patient participation group chairs to set up these groups in each of the towns.

“Issues have already arisen from the forum - for instance the issue of self-harm was raised in Sidmouth and other towns. A task group has done some sterling work with this and should hopefully be ready to present a report and make recommendations in the summer. Issues raised at the forum will be taken to the public and patient engagement committee of the CCG for further consideration. The value of the forum has been in different groups coming together and working on identifying issues of patients and care in the community. Our challenge is how we actually capture the patients’ voice. There are a lot of people out there who are struggling on a day-to-day basis with primary and secondary health and social care services, who are not getting what they need or the information that they need. We want to hear about it.”

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District councillor Matt Booth is chairing a focus group on self-harm for the forum and says the experience has been both useful and illuminating. He added: “We have got the point of overlap, so groups can help each other. For example, the issue of elderly people being alone came up at the last meeting. The forum is a fantastic opportunity for people to come together and work out how we may be able to help people in the community.”

What health and social care issues do you feel need to be addressed? Email the Herald at

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