October update from Dartmouth Healthcare Action Group

This is the latest update on the actions of the Dartmouth Area Healthcare Action Group as posted on FaceBook yesterday:

Linda Goss

I thought many would be interested to see the full press release of the meeting of the Healthcare Action Group with Sarah Wollaston this week.

* Dartmouth Area Healthcare Action Group

Press Release

Liz Davenport

Liz Davenport CEO Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust recently confirmed that all stakeholders in Dartmouth Healthcare were willing to participate in a working group to look at two issues

a) The viability of provision of a suitable number of beds in the new H&W facility

b) To evaluate the existing Hospital site as an option for the new H&W facility.

We are now awaiting detailed proposals from the Trust/CCG to get the working group underway.



Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

The DAHAG committee met with Sarah Wollaston on Friday 5th October to secure her support for the provision of beds in the new H&W facility.

She advised that she was always at every opportunity arguing for beds in Dartmouth, and supported this aim. However she confirmed she could not see the existing Hospital reopening.

A number of issues were brought to her attention as follows;
1) The criteria for patients discharged from the main hospital to be moved to a cottage hospital had been significantly changed resulting in 11000 bed days per annum being eliminated . To put into a perspective this represented 75% of bed days required to be needed in the four cottage hospitals prior to three being closed in the Moor to Sea health area. No real explanation of where these patients have gone has so far been provided.

2) A copy of a recent set of statistics provided by the Trust were passed to Sarah Wollaston which actually showed that against the new criteria 5/6 beds were needed.

3) Statistics were provided which showed that the average of sickness/absence days in the South West averaged 6.5 days per annum whilst the Trust staff averaged 9.8 days per annum, which if brought down to the average would reduce costs by £2.4 M p.a. The Chairman commented that the Trust should be leading the way given they are in the Healthcare business.

4) The Chairman put the case that the existing hospital site should be considered as an option for the new H&W facility, highlighting that it had the capacity for all the envisaged facilities including beds.
He also highlighted that the SHDC proposal would drain off healthcare monies as the SHDC borrowing costs were higher than the Trust could borrow at, equivalent to a District Nurses cost p.a. as well as the other costs that would be incurred by leasing to the benefit of SHDC and the fact that at the end of the lease term the Trust would not have an asset. Whereas they own the existing site and would have an appreciating asset if they funded the build.
The Mayor also added that there was a good economic case for the existing site as it brought people into the town spending in shops and facilities.
Sarah Wollaston however stated she believed strongly that the new facility should be at the top of Town particularly because this is where the deprived people are housed and there was better parking.
Significant offence was taken to the reference to deprived people and there was some debate on this issue.

There was further debate about the issues raised and also reference to the ambulance service. It was suggested that while a recent report stated that the ambulance service was meeting the standards they were distorted by servicing the main centres of population.

The meeting concluded and the group will seek to meet again in 6-8 weeks’ time.

It is planned to hold a further Town meeting in October – to be confirmed.
Dartmouth Caring , the PPG and SHDC Councillors have been invited so that a clear consensus can be achieved to take the communities needs forward in a consolidated and unified way.

Michael Mills

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