The following article has been published online by the Dartmouth Chronicle :
A date for the public meeting to discuss the health and wellbeing centre promised for Dartmouth, has been set.
After a passionate discussion at the full council meeting this week, councillors and residents appear ready to challenge the Torbay and South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust for the towns health and wellbeing centre.
County councillor, Jonathan Hawkins said the meeting will “give Dartmouth a really good opportunity to hold the Trust to account-for both, decisions in the past and those in the future.”
The meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14, at 7pm at St Saviours Church in Dartmouth where top representatives from the Trust will attend. The names of representatives will be revealed at a later date.
At the full council meeting on Monday, April 9, the Mayor Cllr Richard Cooke relayed a report from a meeting he attended with the Clinical Commissioning Group(CCG).
The group largely consisting of GPs, has an amount of money to buy health care for a population, explained the Mayor. Then CCG can commission health care in the amount that is thought necessary from health authorities. The main health authority in the area is the Torbay authority.
Councillors listened as the Mayor explained how the original plan to move all health services to Riverview fell through, but the model this was based on is still functional.
At the moment, the Mayor said the Totnes hospital which is used by many is looked upon favourably, but there are difficulties with transport of elder and less mobile residents.
However, the Mayor has received a letter from the Torbay Health Authority saying it would look to the council as a partner to help identify a suitable site for the Dartmouth health and wellbeing centre. The centre would ideally be co-located with other community facilities including the general practice, Dartmouth clinic, Dartmouth caring and the pharmacy.
The letter said: “The Trust with its partner will take forward the development of a health and wellbeing centre for Dartmouth as a priority.” Cllr Steve Smith passionately said: “The biggest issue is to rebuild the trust in the Trust, because the people of Dartmouth unfortunately have no trust in the Trust anymore.”
The Mayor seconded this, explaining that the Torbay health care Trust are the “responsible body” and they have to come up with an alternative to Riverview. A suggestion was raised by Cllr Rob Lyon who suggested the NHS should buy Riverview and all health care facilities should move up there. “It should be up to the council and the town to get together and say this at the meeting.” To reinforce the feeling at the meeting, Cllr Robin Springett made a very passionate speech which was met with applause from fellow councillors and members of the public. He said, before, councillors had been given a “very solemn promise” that the wellbeing centre proposal would be full-filled and “I honestly believe the people who gave the promise thought that they could deliver it”. But, we took the promise at “face value” explained Cllr Springett. “If this was Surrey it wouldn’t have happened” but “it’s happened because it’s Devon” he added. “It’s the South West and they don’t give a toss about us.”