Patients’ therapeutic garden to be created at Sidmouth Victoria Hospital

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund AGM

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund AGM - Credit: Archant

Trustees pledge ongoing commitment to town’s facility

A therapeutic garden is set to be created for patients at Sidmouth Victoria Hospital this year, after trustees pledged their ongoing commitment to the site.

Speaking at the hospital’s comforts fund’s annual general meeting (AGM), chairman Graham Vincent admitted it is a time of ‘big change’, but reiterated the need for continued community support to maintain the town’s ‘wonderful’ facility.

Concerns have recently been raised over the transfer of its ownership to NHS Property Services in June - a company that will demand a marker rate from service providers - but the trustees say their aim remains to keep improving provision for people in the town.

Mr Vincent said: “Our project for this year is to upgrade the courtyard area at the rear of the hospital into a therapeutic garden. This will be in view of many inpatient beds and we are sure, with movement and colour in this area, patients will greatly benefit.”

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He outlined further improvements planned for the site, including an investment in six bespoke, adjustable armchairs for use by inpatients and the physiotherapy department and a roof over the cycle area.

A highlight of last year was the ‘best-ever’ Flag Day, in which £1,060 was raised for the hospital.

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A controversial reshuffle by the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last year saw Sidmouth gain eight more inpatient beds.

Mr Vincent said this should be viewed as an ‘ongoing commitment’ to the hospital and gives the community assurance of its future. He also expressed hope that the town’s minor injuries unit will reopen following a statement from the CCG confirming NHS bosses recognise a need for the facility in the town (see page eight).

President of Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Comforts Fund, Sheelagh Michelmore MBE, said the Sid Valley’s community and the town council have been ‘pillars of strength’ throughout completion of £1.25million worth of improvements.

These marked the final phase of extensive, planned upgrades financed by the comforts fund.

She assured members that the trustees and hospital team are ‘never complacent’, but are constantly aware of the continuous needs of the community, as well as the Sid Valley’s many visitors.

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