Assurances sought regarding hospital bed closures
Posted on: 8 March 2017
Devon County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee has asked NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to come back with assurances regarding the CCG’s decision to reduce the number of community hospital beds in East Devon.
Having publicly consulted, the CCG last week announced a decision to reduce the number of community hospital beds in East Devon from 143 to 72.
But members of the independent Scrutiny committee felt that consultation was flawed, and that the CCG’s decision was not in the interests of the health service in the area.
Following discussion at its meeting yesterday, the Committee settled on a list of assurances that it has now asked of the CCG, with the suggestion that unless adequate responses are forthcoming within 28 days of official notification of the committee’s request, the committee could refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Those assurances include a clearer explanation of what care at home – the alternative to care in community hospitals – will look like, following concerns that there may not be adequate care available in people’s homes.
And given staffing shortages within the NHS and significant challenges for adult social care, the committee wants to know how many more staff are required to make the new model of care work.
There was concern among the committee regarding a new government direction coming into effect next month, that will require health trusts to prove that there is sufficient alternative care provision, before any hospital beds are lost.
And, the committee resolved, there is not clear plan from the CCG about the future of the hospital buildings that have lost their beds, and that are now in the ownership of NHS Property Services.
“We believe that the CCGs recent decision requires further thought, and we have invited them to give us assurances regarding a number of concerns highlighted by the committee. The consultation, we believe, was flawed in that it excluded Okehampton and Honiton hospitals from the consultation. We also do not believe that the decision as it stands is in the best interests of the health service in the area, considering the signification pressures on hospitals, such as the Royal Devon and Exeter, for hospital beds.”