Saturday, 26 March 2016

Keeping control of local health services >>> "What health and social care issues do you feel need to be addressed?"

There has been considerable concern about plans to close local hospital beds:
Futures Forum: NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group >>> "grave concerns over patient safety regarding the forthcoming plans to close community beds"

This has been widespread:
MEP weighs in on Sidmouth hospital unit closure - News - Sidmouth Herald
Petition on hospital bed closures delivered | East Devon Watch

Last year, a judicial review was sought to challenge these proposals:
Futures Forum: NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group >>> 'not fit for purpose'

Earlier this month, the challenge was quashed:
Judge declares decision to close hospital beds in Devon was "rational" | Exeter Express and Echo
Ruling on Ottery Hospital described as ‘a devastating blow to thousands of people’ - News - Sidmouth Herald

In the wake of these concerns, the Clinical Commissioning Group has asked local Patient Participation Groups to help it address local health issues:

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

16:10 16 February 2016 Eleanor Pipe

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

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).

“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.”

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 sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

Call for Sid Valley’s community to have a say over health matters - News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, the Health Centre desperately needs attention:

GP’s anger over state of Sidmouth town centre surgery

15:17 16 March 2016

Eleanor Pipe

The Sidmouth Health Centre on Blackmore Drive. Ref shs 10-16SH 7178. Picture: Simon Horn

Doctors struggling to treat patients in a building branded ‘not fit for purpose’ have voiced frustration at their landlord’s failure to carry out vital renovations.

Sid Valley Practice partners were denied the chance to buy the Blackmore Health Centre – which was instead taken over by NHS Property Services in 2013 – and have spoken of their sadness over the worsening state of the premises.

Once described as ‘the most innovative health centre in the South West’, the building was branded ‘not fit for purpose’ by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors in July.

GPs revealed this week that - despite repeated efforts on their part – the new landlord has failed to make the six-figure investment needed to modernise the Blackmore Drive surgery.

NHS Property Services is responsible for managing 4,000 NHS buildings and is tasked with driving efficiency and modernising or selling on sites as needed.

The company has said it is aware of the issues and is ‘actively working with the practice to find the best way of meeting their need for upgraded premises’.

GP Dr Joe Stych – one of the practice partners – said: “The practice was trying to buy the health centre to modernise it. Dr Duncan Hall [partner] was pushing really hard so we could keep control of the centre and redevelop it. We had a big survey done on the health centre and there is a six-figure sum needed to bring it up to scratch. Once NHS Property Services were in process, we could not get a dialogue from them. We have had a lot of meetings and they agreed something must be done, but it all fizzles into nothing.”

After a failed bid to expand their Blackmore Drive surgery into the library, partners turned their attention to developing the new Beacon Medical Centre, off Stowford Rise. The GPs are shouldering the £2.1million loan for the new state-of-the-art premises and they say they are ‘absolutely committed’ to retaining a town centre site.

Dr Hall said: “Private ownership by interested partners would offer the best chance of moving this dilapidated building forward. Blackmore Health Centre was at one time the most innovative health centre in the South West and probably further afield. It is sad.”

Chairman of the Sid Valley patient participation group, Di Fuller, said: “The Blackmore Drive Health Centre is very convenient and what people are used to, but it’s very dilapidated. It is getting much worse and it’s a very difficult situation for the practice to be in.”

A spokesman for NHS Property Services said: “We inherited the site as part of the 2013 health reforms and are aware of the issues at the property. We are actively working with the practice to find the best way of meeting their need for upgraded premises.”

GP’s anger over state of Sidmouth town centre surgery - News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, there is still uncertainty in other areas of health-care provision:
SIDMOUTH: Hospital trust transfer held up for more than six months - Pulman's View from Sidmouth

And one issue seems to be a matter of who owns what:
Fears over Ottery Hospital ownership change - News - Sidmouth Herald
£800k wellbeing hub in Budleigh ‘has ground to a halt’ - News - Exmouth Journal
MP hits out at continued closure of town’s hospital - News - Exmouth Journal

Including in Sidmouth:

Ownership change ‘does not bode well’ for future of Sidmouth Victoria Hospital

19:03 07 March 2016

Eleanor Pipe

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

Trustees to tackle ‘big problem’ amid concerns

Negotiations are under way to safeguard the £5million community investment in Sidmouth Victoria Hospital and keep a share of its ownership within the town.

The talks stem from concern over the future of the site, which is set to be handed over to NHS Property Services – a company that would seek to drive efficiency and generate a commercial rent from the building.

The change in ownership is due this spring when the hospital’s current service provider, the North Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT), will hand over the reins to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

Chairman of the hospital’s comforts fund, Graham Vincent, said trustees are working to tackle the ‘big problem’ of future ownership and have been consulting with the NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - a body responsible for commissioning healthcare services.

Mr Vincent said: “There is much concern over the ownership of community hospitals and hubs.

“Over the last 25 years, Sidmouth hospital has been rebuilt internally whilst retaining the Victorian exterior. The amount of money to rebuild and constantly upgrade equipment totals around £5million - which has come from the local community.”

He revealed the CCG is trying to pursue a joint ownership option, which would enable communities to own a share in the buildings and gain greater control over their use and development in the future.

Another solution would be to create a Devon-wide community interest company, which would own a joint share and work on behalf of communities and the CCG.

The town’s minor injuries unit (MIU) - which was recently refurbished as part of a £1.2million community-funded investment - remains shut after it was temporarily closed in November to rein in ‘spiralling costs’.

Mr Vincent stressed that people in the town need to be able to influence services they receive – something that he said has been challenged recently – and he said the ownership needs to be aligned to the needs of the community.

Chairman of the Sid Valley’s patient participation group, Di Fuller, said: “We have the same concerns as the comforts fund. It’s not a good move for the patients – it would be much better if it was owned by the people who provide the services.”

She referenced the dilapidated state of Blackmore Drive doctors’ surgery – a building that is owned by NHS Property Services – and said the company’s failure to renovate that important site ‘does not bode well for the future of community hospitals’.

Dr Alex Degan, a GP and CCG board member, said: “This is very much work in progress, but we are working very closely with community representatives, local people and the voluntary sector on the future development of community services (as well as hospitals) in eastern Devon, including Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth.”

He said there is a ‘compelling narrative’ for the role of community services in meeting the needs of people as close to home as possible.

NHS Property Services is responsible for 4,000 NHS buildings worth an estimated £3billion. Its remit is to manage assets and modernise or sell buildings according to needs, as well as provide management support services,

A spokesman for the company said: “Ou
r role is to work with commissioners to meet their healthcare estates requirements.”

Ownership change ‘does not bode well’ for future of Sidmouth Victoria Hospital - News - Sidmouth Herald

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