Community hospitals in management switch

Sidmouth, Exmouth, Budleigh Slaterton, Axminster, Honiton and Ottery St Mary involved in switch

MANAGEMENT of community hospitals and health services in Sidmouth, Exmouth, Budleigh Slaterton, Axminster, Honiton and Ottery St Mary was today (April 1) transferred to an NHS trust in North Devon.

Responsibility for services affecting tens of thousands of people in communities across the region now lies with the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT).

Twelve hospitals- previously run by NHS Devon’s Primary Care Trust- are involved in the switch.

NDHT already manages North Devon District Hospital and five other community facilities.

A spokesperson for the trust said the move will see an additional 1,700 staff members join its existing 2,600-strong workforce.

The trust will serve a geographic area of 1,300 square miles with a population of 484,000- more than half the total population and area of Devon.

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The changes come as a result of the Government’s Transforming Community Services initiative- a national programme which aims to “strengthen community services and bring healthcare closer to home.”

It bars NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT) from commissioning and providing services. Devon’s PCT stopped providing healthcare from today.

NHS Devon bosses chose NDHT to take over services in October last year.

NDHT chief executive Jac Kelly said: “This decision reflects the strength of our organisation and the good reputation we have as a provider of integrated acute, community and social care services. We have an excellent track record in North Devon and were one of the first Trusts in the country to pioneer this integrated health services work. We are very pleased to be able to now develop that work across the county.

“Our staff, both in North Devon and our new colleagues in the eastern area, have been working hard to ensure the transfer process is as smooth as possible and that patients continue to receive a high level of quality healthcare.”