Survey launched by health campaigners to find out if caring for patients at home is actually working

Health campaigners have launched a survey to try and find out if caring for patients in their own homes is working.

The Care Closer to Home Survey has been rolled out by Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) Devon across North Devon and Torridge.

The group wants to hear from patients, their families and friends about their experiences of being cared for at home rather than in hospital.

Community hospital beds have closed - or are under threat of closure - across the county as North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) seeks to implement its Your Future Care programme.

It wants to reduce the number of patients staying in hospital because it says the current system of bed-based care is not sustainable.

Instead the CCG and local health trusts believe patients who do not need a long hospital stay can receive suitable care, support and treatment at home.

SOHS wants to know if this system is working and has rolled out a pilot survey in paper format, with the aim of extending it online and across the county.

Survey co-ordinator Ray Ashman said: "The purpose of the survey is simple. We want to collect information on how patients and their spouses, partners, relatives and friends are experiencing Care Closer to Home.

"Anyone who has direct experience of this so-called 'new model of care' is invited to complete the survey, and we will respect and value all responses.

"I would also like to make clear that it is absolutely not our intention to scrutinise NHS employees, care workers or any other individuals. Our interest is in the Care Closer to Home model itself, the underlying processes and procedures, and - most importantly - those patients and families who have had first-hand experience of how the model is actually working."

The survey has 30 questions covering the patient's hospital stay, discharge and period of care at home. Respondents also have the option to tell their story in their own words.

Copies of the survey are currently available at Barnstaple Town Council offices on the Square, Ilfracombe Tyrrell Hospital Shop, Church Street and Ilfracombe Town Council offices, as well as Torrington council offices and library.