• Government taskforce narrows down its focus for Devon health cuts

    21st June 2016 | News | Claire
  • At Monday’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee, the Success Regime, led by former RD&E chief executive, Angela Pedder, outlined its progress so far and I asked about proposals to publicly consult.

    If nothing changes, we were told that the NHS in Devon will be a whopping £398m in the red by 2020/21.

    The paper submitted with the committee agenda states:  “Some services such as stroke, paediatrics, maternity are not clinically or financially sustainable in the long term without changes to the way they are delivered across the system.

    Other services that will be targeted includes emergency surgery and specialties such as ear, nose and throat services.

    And it looks as though we will lose more hospital beds across large and small hospitals in the area.

    “Bed based activity will decrease and fewer beds will be needed in acute hospitals (big district hospitals) or community hospitals.”

    In a separate but perhaps linked development, we also heard yesterday from South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group that it is poised to publicly consult on reducing its community hospital bed numbers from 156 to 96. Torbay Hospital is also set to lose 100 beds.

    Five community hospitals are proposed to be closed and sold off, freeing up around £6.2m. These are Dartmouth, Bovey Tracey, Ashburton, Buckfastleigh and Paignton.

    The paper goes on to state that there are “initial recommendations on five segments of the population. These are:

    – Elderly with chronic conditions
    – Adults with chronic conditions
    – Adults with severe and enduring mental illness
    – Elderly with dementia
    – Mostly healthy adults

    The changes proposed are set to deliver around £70m of savings during 2016/17, with a £100m expected to be saved by March 2018.

    The paper seemed to be a bit light on what consultation would take place, although it was clear that the regime wanted the changes implemented as soon as possible.

    I asked twice about this and received a rather vague reply but it looks as though there will be a 12 week consultation, possibly starting in July, which is when the regime is set to publish its detailed plans. 

    Health scrutiny chairman, Richard Westlake, asked that a detailed consultation programme be sent to the committee.

    These are likely to be significant cuts to health services and it is essential that the public consultation period is handled properly and fairly.

    The webcast of yesterday’s meeting is here – http://www.devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/222097