South Devon & Torbay CCG is proposing changes to the way medical services are provided by the NHS in its area. In the Paignton & Brixham locale this includes the closure of Paignton Hospital which decreases community beds by 28.
The Minor Injuries Unit in Brixham will also close and in future patients will need to go to either a a specialist GP with some MIU services in Paignton or make a trek to Totnes or Newton Abbot MIU’s (a bus trip from Brixham to Newton abbot typically takes about an hour and a half).
What could services look like and where would they be?
Clinical hub in Brixham (currently Brixham Hospital)
- New multi long-term conditions clinic
- Specialist outpatient clinics
- Community beds (16 plus 4 flexible use)
- Rehabilitation gym
Health and wellbeing centre in Brixham (as part of plans to co-locate health and wellbeing services with local GP practices)
- Health and wellbeing team
- Community clinics
Health and wellbeing centre in Paignton (planned to be developed in Paignton as part of providing fit-for-purpose accommodation for local GP Services
- Community clinics
- Enhanced primary care MIU services
- Health & Wellbeing team
Health and wellbeing centre in Totnes (options are being explored to co-locate with GP’s)
Extracted from the Into the Future booklet
Paignton Hospital will close reducing beds available in the bay by 28. There is no mention in the document about what beds are currently available in Brixham and whether there are any changes proposed to their number as well or whether some of these beds might go to Brixham instead.
Considerable NHS funding will be given to work in partnership with private local care home providers ‘to deliver more local intermediate care beds.’ This is again diverting taxpayer money into private profiteering hands rather than directly into care. Also I have recently learned that care homes and nursing homes offer quite different standards of care and there are not currently enough nursing homes in Torbay to provide the care that would normally be provided at a community hospital.
Some MIU services will be moved to a GP in Paignton, so presumably they will run during GP practice hours rather than the 8-8 standard they are setting in other areas unless people raise the issue at the public meeting. For other MIU services or out of hours patients will have to travel to either Totnes or Newton Abbot. Brixham residents without transport will face a 1 1/2 hr minimum bus journey including a change at Newton Abbot station to arrive at Newton Abbot Hospital. A journey to Totnes town centre from Brixham will be two buses taking 51 minutes ( three buses if you live in cowtown), plus a five minute walk to the hospital.
The very intriguing health and wellbeing teams will again be co-located with GP’s but there is no information really about exactly what services the health and wellbeing team will provide to the community and how well they will function as an annex within an existing and established GP practice.
Community inpatient care and specialist services such as audiology, cardiology and dermatology and outpatient clinics currently provided at Paignton Hospital would be provided at Brixham, Totnes and Newton Abbot.
There is also a short paragraph mentioning an ‘integrated office base in the King’s Ash area’ where staff will be based who will provide care to people in their own homes. This is potentially really good and knowing more about this would be helpful.
In essence, the way NHS services and care services are provided is going to be quite drastically overhauled. A very positive thing to note is that the CCG is genuinely making changes that take into account the needs of each specific area and tailoring their offering accordingly. The changes here aim to provide care for increasing chronic long term illnesses and to do so in the comfort of people’s homes. This is likely to be of benefit to many elderly, and in Torbay in particular there is a high proportion of elderly patients needing care who aren’t getting it efficiently.
What is lacking in the consultation documents are the specifics of number of people affected by these proposals, and exactly how these changes will happen. When the hospitals services will be closed and when the new plans will be implemented. What the interruption of services is likely to be. It is these questions that must be answered.