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Fight to save Teignmouth hospital continues

Cllrs David Cox, Chris Clarence, Martin Wrigley, Alistair Dewhirst, Alison Eden, outside Teignbridge District Council's HQ, calling for Teignmouth Hospital to be saved

A new health and wellbeing centre is planned for the town

Teignmouth Hospital would be sold off when a new £8m health and wellbeing hub is built in the town as part of the Brunswick Street redevelopment.

The scheme would see accommodate the three Teignmouth GP practices – Channel View Medical Practice, Teign Estuary Medical Group and Teignmouth Medical Group – co-located in the new health and wellbeing building.

Community clinics would also be provided from the Brunswick Street site, but the specialist outpatients service and the theatre service would be transferred to Dawlish Community Hospital.

The South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group presented their outline plans to Teignbridge councillors and Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The CCG is set to begin an eight week consultation in early 2019 on their proposals, but Teignmouth town council voted unanimously to oppose the closure of the hospital and Cllr David Cox told the Health and Adult Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee that councils were planning a ‘parish poll’ on saving the hospital.

Cllr Cox added: “Our GPs should move together into a new purpose built building, but that is no reason for Teignmouth Hospital to close. We are not luddites and we want to work with the NHS, and we believe the hospital can have a part to play in the way the NHS is moving.”

He added that the League of Friends have spent £2m upgrading the hospital recently, and that if we lose the hospital, we lose the League of Friends and the voluntary sector.

At a protest to save Teignmouth Hospital, Cllr Martin Wrigley added: “I have asked the CCG to think again, find a solution for the GPs, and don’t get distracted by property deals, and keep Teignmouth Hospital open.

“GPs would benefit from new premises, and to be co-located in the centre of town, on the flat. I think we can agree with them on that.

“But they also said that they believed that the health and wellbeing, voluntary sector and community clinics would benefit from being co-located with the GPS. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want medical decisions based on belief, I want them based on scientific evidence.”

Speaking to councillors last Thursday, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, South Devon & Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, Jo Turl, said that the proposals were about further integration with primary care and that co-location of services was the best way toork together for the benefit for the public and the patient.

She added that initial consultation on the proposals saw support for co-location of services, a new health and wellbeing centre in Teignmouth which needed to be on a flat site and easily accessible for transport, parking, and the town centre. She said that they reviewed the options and only one option met the criteria for that, and that was the Brunswick Street site.

Cllr Claire Wright asked the CCG how much the proposals would cost.

She was told by Sonja Manton, the joint director of strategy, that the new health and wellbeing building in Brunswick Street would cost around £8m.

She added: “It is our conviction and ambition to bring together primary care and community teams in one location. Teignmouth Hospital we have assessed isn’t the best location in the emerging thinking. This is not about cutting costs but caring for more people within the existing work force.”

Cllr Wright was told that an investment of around £250,000 would have to be made to upgrade Dawlish hospital to ensure it has capacity for day surgery, but ongoing costs would be cost neutral to the CCG.

Mrs Turl added: “We are not taking away any services but relocating them. There is a commitment that services will stay in the locality and be running in the locality until the new facilities are ready to take them.”

Teignmouth Hospital was opened in 1954, the first hospital built under the NHS, but a report to the committee says: “The hospital cannot be economically reconfigured to provide modern facilities required today and in the future. The most recent Hospital conditions survey shows that the building is nearing the end of its effective life with wear and tear taking its toll, mechanical and electrical infrastructure approaching the end of its economic life, drainage problems and disability discrimination issues.”

The report of Simon Tapley, Director of Commissioning, added: “The next step in Teignmouth is to further integrate services with primary care and the preferred way to achieve this is by having it all under one roof, in a modern, fit for purpose, building.

“GPs are the bedrock of the NHS; they are everyone’s first port of call. Ensuring primary care is sustainable and able to support integrated working is crucial. Local GPs need to be equipped to deliver the benefits of integrated working, so they can continue to enhance the existing model of care and further embed services locally.

“By having those services based in one location in Teignmouth would put real focus on prevention, independence and keeping people well and out of hospital – physical and mental health would work alongside social care and the voluntary sector. Everything that is currently available would continue to be available – the same services, delivered through an enhanced model of care, but in a more modern location.”

The CCG say that the best way to secure the survival of primary care in the town is for services to co-located in a new building and that the proposed 12 rehabilitation beds do not need to be established at Teignmouth Hospital, due to the success of the health and wellbeing team and services in supporting people out of hospital. As a result of the changes though, Teignmouth Hospital would close.

The CCG state that in order to deliver this vision, they would need to:

  • relocate community clinics from Teignmouth Community Hospital into the health and wellbeing centre
  • relocate specialist outpatient provision from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • relocate theatre services from Teignmouth Community Hospital into Dawlish Community Hospital
  • reverse the decision following the consultation to establish 12 rehabilitation beds in Teignmouth Community Hospital
  • close Teignmouth Hospital and sell the site for reinvestment in the local NHS.

The CCG is set to begin an eight week consultation in early 2019 on their proposals.

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