Doctors move ahead with hospital health hub plan
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:00 11 November 2013
NHS bosses have agreed to go ahead with plans to turn Budleigh Salterton Hospital into a community health hub.
The deal should secure the hospital’s future – however, it has been confirmed it will lose its inpatient beds and stroke unit as a result.
An agreement has been signed between the League of Friends of Budleigh Salterton Hospital, Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) and the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) to back the scheme in principle, and ensure the project gets off the ground next year.
As part of the agreement, NDHT has offered to cover a significant proportion of the costs, and is offering professional facilities support, while the League of Friends will provide financial support where possible.
Services at the new hub could include added physiotherapy, podiatry, hospice services and audiology, specialist healthcare for elderly patients, a respite centre and services run in partnership with charities such as Age Concern and the Alzheimer’s Society.
However, the hospital’s community and stroke beds will be moving to Exmouth Hospital, meaning inpatient services with 24-hour beds will end.
League of Friends chairman Dr David Evans said: “This is a great sadness for the League of Friends and the community locally as one of our priorities has always been the preservation of the heritage of our community hospital.
“That is why the League of Friends together with NEW Devon CCG and NDHT have worked so hard during the last 18 months, to present an alternative use for the hospital that will meet the changing needs of our community into the future.
“The way modern medical care is delivered has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.
“There have been difficulties in recruiting staff for smaller units and maintaining their clinical skills and, of course, severe financial pressures.
“Having a larger unit based at Exmouth Community Hospital will overcome some of these difficulties. It is reassuring, however, that all the transferred [inpatient] beds will remain under the jurisdiction of Budleigh Salterton doctors.”
Local GP and vice-chairman with the local area of the CCG Dr Rick Mejzner said: “As a CCG, we are committed to developing health services in Budleigh Salterton which meet the changing needs of the population.
“We want to diversify the use of the hospital and create a hub that is well used, provides a mixture of healthcare and social services for all ages and is sustainable.”
There will now be a consultation programme with local residents and, as part of this, the League of Friends is holding a coffee morning at the Public Hall on November 16, at 10am, where visitors can have their say.