Pioneering plan for 'health hub'

PUBLISHED: 09:24 09 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:24 09 July 2013

Could future care for Torrington patients be in their own homes and not at the town's cottage hospital?

Could future care for Torrington patients be in their own homes and not at the town's cottage hospital?

Archant

Budleigh Salterton is on track to have the first 'patient centred' community well-being and health hub in the country, customised specifically to the needs of residents of all ages.

At a recent meeting of NHS chiefs, GPs, councillors and charitable organisations, costings and the eventual shape, size and range of services were discussed.

And both chairman of the meeting, county councillor Christine Channon and GP Richard Mejzner are calling on the public for suggestions.

So far, ideas include a café, lounge, meeting room and cinema, to help with ongoing care.

It is all part of a pioneering plan being promoted by Dr Mejzner which, if realised, would secure the future of Budleigh Salterton Hospital.

Currently, the hospital has one of the best stroke units in the country, a ward, a day unit and a physiotherapy department.

But there are concerns that it is no longer financially viable for a community hospital in the 21st century to cater for just one sector of the population.

Councillor Channon said that the NHS was ‘wasting money’ because care needs, medical treatment and support was provided ‘in silos’ by the public, private and voluntary sectors.

She said: “The meeting was very positive and the proposals seem very workable within the building situation.

“Tamara Powderly (interim deputy locality director NHS Eastern) discussed what this could look like and talked about costings and what could be expected from a clinical aspect.

“What we are saying is that all the clinical things currently in the hospital would be retained, but that we hope to add to them.”

She said that there were opportunities for groups like Age Concern, hospices or a children’s centre to work within the same environment.

“We are keeping our ears to the ground, to see if there is anything similar in the country we can look at, but I don’t think there is.

“If anybody has any ideas to add to the discussion, I would encourage them to contact Dr Mejzner.”

Dr Mejzner said: “One of the main themes [from the meeting] was to develop a vibrant ‘wellbeing hub’ that meets the needs of the whole community.

“It would be better placed to help prevent ill health, whether by bringing people together socially and reducing isolation, or through the provision of exercise classes to help reduce the risk of falls and improve the quality of life for people with breathing problems.”

“[It] would be at the centre of the community and would have detailed knowledge and understanding of the health needs of the local population, including younger and older people.

“Of course there is a lot more that we could do and this is an opportunity to find out from local people what activities and services they want.”

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