Devon health watchdog seeks assurances over bed cuts


- Credit: Archant

A health watchdog is seeking assurances that adequate care will be available in people’s homes after news that 71 inpatient beds in East Devon will close.

Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee is giving the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) 28 days to respond, or it could refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Members asked for a clearer explanation of what care at home will look like, assurances that such care will be adequate, and details of how many more staff are required to make the new model of care work.

Committee chairman Councillor Richard Westlake said: “We believe that the CCG’s recent decision requires further thought, and we have invited them to give us assurances regarding a number of concerns highlighted by the committee.

“The consultation, we believe, was flawed in that it excluded Okehampton and Honiton hospitals from the consultation.

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“We also do not believe that the decision as it stands is in the best interests of the health service in the area, considering the significant pressures on hospitals, such as the Royal Devon and Exeter, for hospital beds.” Rob Sainsbury, the CCG’s chief operating officer, said respondents to the 13-week consultation had broadly supported being cared for in their own homes and the CCG will respond to any increased pressure the new model may create, whether that means more staff or more resources.

The CCG – forecast to have a £384million deficit by 2020 – justified the cuts by arguing East Devon proportionally has more beds than elsewhere in the county.

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