North Devon takes on hospital management role

Joseph Bulmer

Northern Devon Heathcare Trust ‘doubles’ in size following Devon-wide community hospital management switch

NORTHERN Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) has taken on management of community hospitals and health services in Exeter, East and Mid Devon from today (Friday).

The Trust, which already looks after five community hospitals in Bideford, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, South Molton and Torrington, as well as North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, has doubled in size after taking on responsibility for a further 12 community hospitals.

The hospitals in Axminster, Budleigh Salterton, Crediton, Exmouth, Honiton, Moretonhampstead, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth, Tiverton and Whipton were previously run by NHS Devon (the Primary Care Trust).

As well as the hospitals, the Trust will manage community health services such as district nursing and physical therapies, and specialist services including podiatry and audiology, across the region.

The Trust will now serve a geographic area of 1,300 square miles with a population of 484,000 – more than half the total population and area of Devon.

A spokesperson said the switch will see an additional 1,700 staff members join its existing 2,600-strong workforce.

The changes come as a result of the Government’s Transforming Community Services initiative, a national programme which aims to “strengthen community services and bring healthcare closer to home.”

It bars NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT) from commissioning and providing services. Devon’s PCT stopped providing healthcare from today.

NHS Devon bosses chose NDHT to take over services in October last year.

NDHT chief executive Jac Kelly said: “This decision reflects the strength of our organisation and the good reputation we have as a provider of integrated acute, community and social care services.

“We have an excellent track record in North Devon and were one of the first Trusts in the country to pioneer this integrated health services work. We are very pleased to be able to now develop that work across the county.

“Our staff, both in North Devon and our new colleagues in the eastern area, have been working hard to ensure the transfer process is as smooth as possible and that patients continue to receive a high level of quality healthcare.”