December 5 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Budleigh Salterton Hospital will ‘almost certainly’ lose its inpatient beds, and probably also its stroke unit, as part of changes which will see it transformed into a more sustainable community health hub.
However, doctors say the loss will be more than made up for by the benefits of their plan, having given more details of how the scheme, first announced in May, would work.
At an update given to town councillors this week, it was also revealed that Age Concern is ‘almost certain’ to play a key role.
The idea is the new ‘health hub’ – for which architects have drawn up initial plans – would centre around a café area, where Age Concern could run its lunch clubs, and patients could socialise.
The plan is it would then be easier for the hospital to offer them social care, and it would also provide a nicer environment for patients who use medical services, such as physiotherapy, dermatology and rheumatology.
Budleigh GP Dr Rick Mejzner said: “Currently the day hospital sees about eight, nine, ten patients a day, and a huge swathe of my patients I know would benefit but don’t really get the chance to access that sort of reablement care.
“One of the big parts of the project is to try and get as many people who get social care through the memory café and Age Concern to be focused up there, so we can deliver services to a much bigger number of people.”
Dr Mejzner said that change was vital to make the hospital sustainable, and that the hospital’s four inpatient beds and eight stroke unit beds would probably be a casualty of this.
“There is a consultation going on about the future of the stroke unit which for lots of clinical reasons would like to relocate more centrally in Exeter.
“It looks like the inpatient unit will almost certainly be moving to Exmouth, where they hope, with a bigger unit, staffing arrangements will get more sustainable. That’s the downside.We’ll lose a few medical beds and probably the stroke unit.”
Dr Mejzner added that most of the stroke unit’s patients currently come from Exeter anyway.
The new hub would also look to involve voluntary schemes, and to help fund it, doctors are also hoping to involve one or more commercial partners, such as a pharmacy, optician or dentist, which would pay rent.
There could also be services such as childcare and baby groups on offer, to make sure it is not just focused on the elderly.
Age Concern vice-chairman Dr Graham Taylor said: “Age Concern is almost certainly going with this. There are one or two financial things we have to look at.
“It is important if we move up to be a full part of this project that a transport system is defined and will work.
“We at Age Concern are very excited about it and look forward to the move.”