Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Doctors condemn elderly care cuts

12:00 12 March 2014

Under threat: Oakwell at Bickington is one of 11 care centres under threat from county council cuts.

Under threat: Oakwell at Bickington is one of 11 care centres under threat from county council cuts.

Archant

Proposals to close day centres and residential homes are ‘a polar opposite’ of local health strategy, according to 22 North Devon GP surgeries.

Under threat: Springfield Day Centre in Bideford.Under threat: Springfield Day Centre in Bideford.

NORTH Devon’s doctors have slammed proposals to close care homes and day centres for the elderly because of the potentially serious knock on effect for local health care.

They fear Devon County Council’s plans will not only damage the health of older people locally, but place even more strain on hospitals and emergency departments already at near capacity.

The concerns were raised in a letter to the North Devon Gazette by Dr Alison Stapley, Executive Partner at Bideford Medical Centre, on behalf of the North Devon General Practice Provider Group (NDGPPG) which represents 22 GP practices in the area. You can read the full letter below.

The letter says proposals to close centres and homes are ‘a polar opposite’ of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s Care Closer to Home Strategy.

The doctors fear this will ‘lead to increased loneliness and isolation of our elderly population whose numbers are above the national average and increased stress for their carers’.

They said elderly residents also received personal care at day centres, such as assisted bathing, which helps such vulnerable patients avoid the risk of skin infections.

They questioned whether residents with personal care budgets would effectively be able to purchase private day care services, as what was on offer seemed to vary and the cost did not match the budgets, limiting the times the elderly could use the services or the amount of respite available for carers.

They also said it would be harder for carers to book respite care beds at commercial residential homes, leading to increased stress.

The GPs urged local people, MPs and the Commissioning Group to strongly oppose the plans: “We urge your readers to support our cause and appeal to DCC and the local MPs to find ways forward to support and care for our elderly population in North Devon.”

* Read on for Dr Stapley’s letter and the deep concerns raised by local GPs worried about what might happen if day care centres and residential homes are closed.

Dear Editor,

I write on behalf of North Devon General Practice Provider Group (NDGPPG) which represents 22 GP practices in North Devon, to express our concern over the closure of The Devon County Council Day Centres and Residential Homes. This seems to be a polar opposite to the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (NEW Devon CCG’s) Care Closer to Home Strategy.

The belief of the NDGPPG is that closure of the Day Centres will lead to increased loneliness and isolation of our elderly population whose numbers are above the national average and increased stress for their carers. Some of our elderly residents also receive personal care with assisted bathing at the day centres, removing this facility puts these vulnerable patients at risk of skin infections.

We are aware that our elderly patients will be in receipt of personal care budgets and that they may use these to purchase private day care services. Currently private provision seems to be variable throughout North Devon. Where available the cost of the provision does not seem to marry with the budgets given to patients. Therefore the amount of time the elderly can spend out of their homes with private providers and the respite time for carers will inevitably reduce. Concern was also expressed by the group that some of our elderly population will struggle to be able to manage their personal care budgets and may be left without provision.

With regard to the closure of residential homes it was acknowledged that we are in an area with many private homes, however, these are commercial enterprises and as such need to run at capacity and therefore having respite beds will be less attractive to them. Concern was expressed by carers within the Group that the ability for them to forward plan a holiday will be taken away from them as respite care for their relatives for a specific time frame will no longer be possible. This will in turn increase carers’ stress.

The NDGPPG would like to see a robust opposition to the plan for closure of these facilities from our CCG, our local MPs and the public. We believe closure is detrimental to the health of the elderly population of North Devon and could increase A&E attendances and admissions to hospitals which are already operating at or near full capacity.

We are unaware that a risk assessment has been done to examine the possible impact on primary and secondary health care that these closures could produce. We urge your readers to support our cause and appeal to DCC and the local MPs to find ways forward to support and care for our elderly population in North Devon.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Alison Stapley, Executive Partner at Bideford Medical Centre

For and on behalf of North Devon General Practice Provider Group

Member Practices of NDGPPG are:

Bideford Medical Centre Litchdon Medical Centre

Blake House Surgery Lynton Health Centre

Boutport Medical Centre Northam Health Centre

Bradworthy Surgery Queens Medical Centre

Brannam Medical Centre Beech House, Shebbear

Caen Medical Centre South Molton Health Centre

Castle Gardens Surgery Torrington Health Centre

East Street Surgery Wallingbrook Health Group

Fremington Medical Centre The Warwick Practice

Hartland Medical Practice The Waterside Practice

Holsworthy Medical Centre The Wooda Surgery

0 comments

Other News Stories

10:00
Sophie Welch has become an NCS Leader.

Sophie Welch, 17, chosen from thousands to become an NCS Leader

Read more
07:59
Park School headteacher Gareth Roscoe

Gareth Roscoe reflects on his first 100 days in the job – and a few changes

Read more
Yesterday, 17:57
Don't miss the music, entertainment and antics of the LeperFest at Taddiport in Torrington on Saturday, February 1.

Don’t miss the big parade of lepers plus live music at taddiport this Saturday (February 6) from 8.30pm

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00
KT Tunstall will headline GoldCoast Oceanfest on Sunday, June 19

Big names announced for this year’s GoldCoast Oceanfest at Croyde from June 17-19.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:05
Memories of Barnstaple fair. Picture: Barnstaple Fair Heritage Society

Barnstaple Fair Heritage Society have received a welcome boost after receiving lottery funding for an exciting project.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:31
Geoffrey Cox and Peter Heaton-Jones

Peter Heaton-Jones and Geoffrey Cox are divided on whether or not the UK should leave the EU.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10
Plans for new homes have been submitted to the council.

Plans for a new housing development in Braunton will be on show next week.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:06
Plans for new homes have been submitted to the council.

A chance to view plans for 60 new homes in the Mead Park area of Bickington.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:57
Care for Kids volunteers Nicola Joslin and Sadie Stone are pictured with (from left) Heidi Smith, Olivia Joslin, Charlotte Joslin and Amy Dunbavin. Picture: Submitted

North Devon charity is urging people to help them care for families after record-breaking fundraising year.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:52
John Riddington-Young

Retired consultant fears North Devon District Hospital will face a ‘domino effect’ after the closure of the department he helped create

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications