‘Care at home’ health plans prompt fears for Torrington
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A six month pilot scheme to close inpatient beds at Torrington Hospital and look after people in their own homes goes live from September 1.
A proposal to close all the beds at Torrington Hospital has provoked strong reaction, but health bosses say many patients can be cared for in their own homes.
For six months from September 1 the Transforming Torrington Together pilot project will see the 10 inpatient beds at the 100-year-old cottage hospital close, although outpatient clinics will continue.
Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) say their joint vision is ‘a glimpse of the future of health and social care’, supporting people to live safely and independently in their own homes, or at a care home if there is a clinical need.
After September 1, those needing admission to hospital will be able to go to Bideford or Holsworthy, but the aim is for many who might have been an inpatient at Torrington to instead be treated at home by expanded community rehabilitation and nursing teams.
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The trust said Torrington staff would be redeployed to new roles based on their preferences and there would be no redundancies.
Dr John Coop, clinical director for community services, said with an ageing population and people having more complex health issues, they and trusts across the country had to look at new ways of working.
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But local town and district councillor Margaret Brown said the way things had been handled was ‘absolutely disgusting’:
“It has been sprung on Torrington, the hospital staff and the community,” she said.
“It seems to me this is all pre-determined, but Torrington is a fighting town and we shall do all we can to protect our hospital. Stand up and be counted now. We need people to get behind us, talk to us and form a strategy – we have to keep it at all costs.”
She said she had heard of patients who were being sent straight to Hatchmoor nursing home, but Nikki Kennelly, health and social care cluster manager said a nursing home placement was ‘definitely not the default alternative to an inpatient bed’:
“We are going to be maintaining people at home that are currently in hospital. Either by preventing them from going to hospital, or by getting them home sooner with support from community nursing or therapists,” she said.
“We would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to tell us what they think. We will be holding public meetings and we have developed a website which will publish – transparently – every bit of information we generate about the quality of service.
“The scheme will be evaluated after six months and we invite the community to participate by providing feedback about the services their friends and families have received from the NHS in Torrington.”
The trust said in the meantime people who wanted to find out more about Transforming Torrington Together and have their say could visit www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/ttt