Sidmouth to gain inpatient beds but lose injuries unit
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Victoria Hospital will gain more inpatient beds but lose its minor injuries unit (MIU) if NHS bosses’ proposals are approved.
Long-awaited plans set out by the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) detail a ‘consolidation’ of its 174 beds on to fewer sites that will see Ottery lose out.
No hospitals are due to shut as the CCG frees up funds for the increasing demand on its services and moves its focus towards care in the community.
Sidmouth will have new flexibility to expand provision to cope with seasonal pressures on inpatients beds, as will Honiton and Seaton.
But with the loss of five of the CCG’s six MIUs, GP surgeries will have to pick up the slack, or patients will have to travel to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for treatment.
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Town councillor Christine Drew said: “I don’t know how they will cope – it will be a shame to lose [Sidmouth’s MIU].”
She added that while it may be more economical to centralise treatment, the CCG will have to pay more to train the increased number of carers needed to treat people in their own homes.
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With MIUs closing, the newly vacant spaces could be occupied by the voluntary sector, social care providers or commercial organisations that add value – offering anything from hairdressers and cinemas to shops and meeting spaces.
Reacting to the news in Ottery, town councillor Elli Pang said the proposed changes represented a ‘very real threat’ to the future of its hospital.
Crediton and Axminster will also lose their inpatient beds.
And more could be lost once the CCG is ‘confident’ that community services can care for patients in their own homes.
The health authority is already working with the community to develop ‘health and wellbeing hubs’ that deliver health and social care without offering beds to inpatients, as has happened in Budleigh Salterton.
The CCG has started a 12-week consultation on the proposals and doctors and commissioning managers will be meeting with patients at Stowford Community Centre at 6pm, on Tuesday, November 11.
The proposals will also be debated by Devon County Council and East Devon District Council.