‘Case for change’ for Sidmouth and Ottery’s community hospitals

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

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

Health bosses have published their initial findings of a ‘success regime’ aimed at addressing problems with care services in parts of Devon – including Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary.

Ottery St Mary Hospital. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery St Mary Hospital. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In June last year, NHS England announced that the Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) areas of the county would be one of three regions in the country to be placed into the initiative.

At the time, NHS England said the aim was to address ‘deep-rooted and systemic issues’ and make improvements for patients.

The regime’s initial report, published last week, entitled ‘Case for Change’, identifies several areas which need improvement.

It concludes by saying that, in the next steps of the programme, people interested ‘in helping to solve the issues’ may have a chance to get involved.

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The programme includes every organisation involved in healthcare across NEW Devon, including the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which is soon to take over the day-to-day running of East Devon’s community hospitals.

The summary of the initial findings concludes that services are under ‘severe financial pressure’ and could be run more efficiently, with health and care budgets for the NEW region ‘expected to be £442million in the red by 2020/21 if nothing changes’.

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The report notes that more than £30million was spent on expensive temporary staff at community facilities which can impact on patient care – something that has been previously been identified as an issue at Sidmouth’s Victoria Hospital.

It also concludes that there are health inequalities across the county – with a person living in Ilfracombe, North Devon, expected to die almost 15 years earlier than someone living in Newton Poppleford.

But the report praises the hard work of current staff, who are said to provide good care, and notes there is ‘already much to be proud of’ with regards to health and social care.

The document concludes by saying that details of how people who wish to can get involved in helping solve the issues ‘will be published in due course’.

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