Call for Teignmouth Hospital closure to be referred to Government

Calls have been made for the decision to ‘close’ Teignmouth Hospital for good to be referred to the Secretary of State for consideration.

The Devon CCG Governing Body, when they met last week, were satisfied that the case had been made to back proposal for moving services away from Teignmouth Community Hospital, the first NHS purpose built hospital back in 1954, given that a new £8m Health and Wellbeing Centre is due to be built in the heart of Teignmouth.

This was despite a petition of 2,700 signatures against the closure – more than double the number of responses to the official consultation – and the findings of a spotlight review by Devon County Council’s health and adult care scrutiny committee carried out.

The spotlight review concluded that members do not believe that the consultation has convincingly supported the claim that the proposed changes are in the best interests of the health needs of the population in the area.

Teignmouth Hospital
(Image: Torquil MacLeod)

Having considered their findings though, the CCG unanimously agreed to the proposals which would see community clinics moved to the new Health and Wellbeing Centre, specialist outpatient clinics and day case procedures, move to Dawlish Hospital, and reverse the decision to establish 12 rehabilitation beds at Teignmouth Community Hospital.

With no services left to be commissioned out of the existing hospital site, it would then be up to the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust to determine the future of the site – with a sale to reinvest finance into local NHS services the most likely outcome.

Teignmouth councillor David Cox though has called on the health and adult care scrutiny committee to exercise their right and call the decision into the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock to make the final decision.

Cllr Cox said: “It really is no surprise, that the Devon CCG Governing Body, when they met last Thursday, backed their own proposals for moving services away from Teignmouth Community Hospital – effectively causing the closure of the hospital.

Cllr David Cox

“The figure of 61 per cent of consultation responses being in favour of the CCG proposals sounds impressive, until you realise there was barely a thousand responses to the official consultation. This despite a copy of the CCGs proposals and links to the consultation being delivered to every house in the area.

“Yet with a fraction of the resourses available to the CCG, a group of councillors and campaigners have organised a petition with over 2,700 signatures against closure of Teignmouth Hospital. I hope Devon County Council refer the closure to the Secretary of State.”

The Save Our Hospital Services campaign group added: “Proposals to close local hospital services have been vigorously resisted by Teignmouth, Shaldon and Bishopsteignton residents since they first emerged. There has been rising anger and disbelief at the conduct of Devon CCG in pursuing their preferred outcome.

“SOHS has supported Hands Off Teignmouth Hospital in their campaign and the scrutiny committee agreed with us that the CCG’s consultation process was deeply flawed.

“We hope the CCG will reconsider their plans. They should restore the much-needed rehabilitation beds to Teignmouth Hospital, retain its current clinics and services, and continue meeting the healthcare needs of local residents from the NHS hospital they know and cherish.

“SOHS will continue to challenge the model of care across Devon, and to argue the urgent necessity for more hospital beds as our NHS struggles to cope with the worst public health crisis for a century.”

The Independent Healthwatch Report, which followed consolation on the scheme in September and October, said the majority of respondents (61.3 per cent) supported the overall proposal, compared to 34 per cent who didn’t.

And while those in favour of the changes were higher in Dawlish (77.63 per cent), in Teignmouth, more than half (58.13 per cent) supported the overall proposal.

But SOHS said: “The CCG heavily determined the questions for the survey (many of them closed) carried out by Healthwatch. The online meetings were not set up to encourage inter-active conversation on the issues, patient experience does not feature in the evaluation of options process, and a key concern of many residents about the merits or demerits of rehabilitation within a hospital or care home setting were not presented.”

The CCG though at their meeting agreed that they were content that the case for change had been made, the consultation process was sufficient and the outcomes had been taken into account.

Save Teignmouth Hospital Rally, Teignmouth Triangle, in June
(Image: Andy Styles)

When they met on Thursday, the CCG Board agreed to:

  • approve the move of the most frequently used community clinics from Teignmouth Community Hospital to the new Health and Wellbeing Centre
  • approve the move of specialist outpatient clinics, except ear nose and throat clinics and specialist orthopaedic clinics, from Teignmouth Community Hospital to Dawlish Community Hospital, four miles away
  • approve the move of day case procedures from Teignmouth Community Hospital to Dawlish Community Hospital
  • continue with a model of community-based intermediate care, reversing the decision to establish 12 rehabilitation beds at Teignmouth Community Hospital
  • approve the move of specialist ear, nose and throat clinics and specialist orthopaedic clinics to the Health and Wellbeing Centre
  • request Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust consider in detail the suggestions put forward for additional services at the Health and Wellbeing Centre
  • request Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust consider providing secondary office space at Dawlish Community Hospital for physiotherapists, occupational therapists and district nurses
  • request Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust work with Teignbridge District Council to mitigate parking issues for staff and patients as far as possible, and to work to further support and enhance the development of community transport to the hospital sites

The board agreed that the health and wellbeing centre would ensure the right environment to deliver care now and into the future that the more services that can be delivered in the community rather than bed-based services would be more sustainable.

Artist impression of the new Teignmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre
Artist impression of the new Teignmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre
(Image: Devon CCG)

Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of Devon CCG, said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation we held in the autumn and to Healthwatch for compiling a comprehensive report.

“I am grateful to my Governing Body colleagues for carefully considering all the evidence and information presented to them as part of the decision-making process. This will help us build on the high quality joined-up health and care services in the Teignmouth and Dawlish area.”

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The new £8million Health and Wellbeing Centre is to be built by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust in the heart of Teignmouth and is due to open in 2022, subject to planning permission, but the principle of the development was not part of the consultation as it has already been agreed.

It will house GPs from Teignmouth’s larger practice, Channel View Medical Group, the health and wellbeing team and Volunteering in Health, and subject to the decision by the Governing Body, the most frequently used community clinics – physiotherapy, podiatry and audiology – would also move to the Health and Wellbeing Centre, along with specialist ear, nose and throat and specialist orthopaedic clinics.

Devon Live