NEWS

  Dartmouth Together Launched on Saturday, April 27

Community groups, voluntary sector and NHS/local government are working together to promote healthy living in Dartmouth. Healthy living has big rewards for society: a mentally fitter and happier population remains physically active and independent. Dartmouth Together  aims to help people of all ages access community activities and services that can make their lives better. It will support existing groups, such as sports, education and arts societies to reach more people and be mutually supportive. See latest news on Dartmouth Together here.

Dartmouth Health Centre Plans Take Shape

 3rd April 2019

Planning for the creation of a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in Dartmouth is in full swing. Health Innovations Partners is in deep discussions with all those expected to occupy the building—the Dartmouth Medical Practice, the Torbay and South Devon Hospital Trust and Dartmouth Caring—to work out exactly what accommodation they will need.  While this timetable still needs to be firmed up, it is now reasonable for Dartmouth residents to hope to see their new Health and Wellbeing Centre open its doors in mid-2021, if not a little earlier.

 

Hospital Trust CEO addressed Dart Patients Annual Meeting on 18th October

The meeting heard from Liz Davenport, CEO of the Torbay and South Devon Hospital Trust that a decision on the siting of the proposed Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre would be made shortly, taking account of the views of the stakeholders' working group that included representatives of the Friends of Dartmouth, Dartmouth Caring, DHAG (represented by Richard Rendle), and Dart Patients. Ms Davenport assured the meeting,in addition, that she would continue to work with the stakeholders to identify ways to bring nursing beds to Dartmouth. Also, Craig Davidson told the meeting about Dartmouth Together, a new initiative to promote wellbeing. The meeting elected Pierre Landell-Mills as Chair of the Patients Participation Group, Iain McCall as Vice-Chair and Nick Hindmarsh as Secretary for the coming year.  Read the full report on the meeting here and the Chair's annual report here.

Trust appoints new Strategic Estates Partner to help build the new Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre

28th August 2018

The Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust has appointed a commercial firm, Health Innovation Partners, to work with them in the development of new buildings for health care. We have been reassured that the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre will be among their first priorities. We now await news of the specific steps planned to bring this project to fruition. The present plan is to collaborate with the South Hams District Council to build on the site next to the Leisure Centre currently used as an overflow car park.

 Dart Patients supports the plan to build the new Centre at the top of the town, rather than redevelop the old hospital building for this new purpose because:

  1. A new build on a greenfield site would be designed to provide in the best way possible all the needs and uses that have been identified during the discussions related to Riverview in a modern fit-for-purpose building; finding and adapting the space on the Hospital site is likely to prove difficult and limiting. We would also expect this to be the more cost effective solution

  2. The majority of Dartmouth Medical Practice patients would find access far easier than for the Dartmouth Hospital site.

  3. More and far better parking would be available.

  4. We would expect that planning permission would be easier to achieve and therefore there would be fewer delays.

  5. Providing good IT connections internally throughout the building and externally would be much easier.

 

In our view, the proceeds of the sale of the Dartmouth hospital site should be used to meet as much as possible of the cost of the new HWC. We would hope, too, that the Trust would own the building and site outright, rather than lease it from the SHDC.

 

Little progress made so far in the local provision of intermediate care beds with nursing or in establishing the new Health and Wellbeing Centre .19th July 2018

Despite all the promises made that the NHS Integrated Care Organisation would block purchase at least two (and more if necessary) care home beds in the Dartmouth  area, they have failed to do so. As a consequence Dartmouth Medical Practice patients are being placed as far away as Newton Abbot. In one case an 80 year-old spouse has to persuade her children to drive her to Newton Abbot each day to visit her husband in hospital there which is a considerable burden. This situation is simply unacceptable and further deepens Dartmouth residents' huge frustration with constantly broken NHS promises.

Another promise so far unmet is to start work on the planning and construction of a new Health and Wellbeing Centre at the top of the town. Despite a statement from Councillor Tucker, Tory leader in the South Hams District Council, that the Council will provide  the new facility, there is no evidence that any step has yet been taken to initiate the request for planning permission. We have heard many words about good intentions but precious little evidence of concrete actions on the ground. When will the Trust gets its act together?

 

Angry exchanges at a public meeting on the future of health care in Dartmouth

30th May 2018

 

Over 400 Dartmouth area residents attended a Public Meeting called on14th May, with the support of Dartmouth Caring and the PPG and the help of some local residents, to discuss the provision of future health care in Dartmouth and specifically to hear from representatives of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Hospital Trust/Integrated Care Organisation and Torbay and South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. People wanted to know why the River View project fell through; what steps have been taken to put in place an alternative plan for establishing a local Health and Wellbeing Centre. Those attending were very angry that Dartmouth Hospital had been closed before the new Centre was ready to open, and  called for it to be reopened at least to provide 6 intermediate care beds with full time nursing as originally promised.

 

Liz Davenport, interim CEO of the Trust and Simon Tapley current head of the CCG were put under considerable pressure to respond to these complaints.  The meeting was told that the Trust and CCG believed that the hospital building was very old and not fit for purpose and that spending scarce NHS funds on it could not be justified.  However, Ms Davenport claimed that all patient needs for intermediate care were being provided as promised either at home or to patients in IC beds in a local care home. Moreover, every effort was being made to advance the construction of a new building on a new site to accommodate the planned Health and Wellbeing Centre at a cost of £5 million, following the failed negotiations with the owners of River View. These claims were disputed by a number of those present. Councillor Hawkins requested that the Trust and CCG provide a full response to the concerns raised at the meeting within 14 days and this was promised.

.Read the Trust/CCG response here. And read the Dart Patient reaction to the response here.

£1.3m to support Wellbeing Programme in Torbay and South Devon 

22nd May 2018

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust together with local authority partners, Torbay Community Development Trust’s (TCDT) National Lottery funded Ageing Well Programme, and local voluntary sector organisations, have secured £1.3m to fund the continuation of the Wellbeing Programme for the next four years.  The Programme began in July 2016. The initial evaluation findings suggest that this Programme is enabling some participants to sustainably avoid hospital and acute care.The Dartmouth Together initiative hopes to secure such support for local health and wellbeing programmes

 

Riverview Care Home to close

13 March 2018

Residents of Riverview Care Home were alarmed to be informed by Hightrees, the current care provider, this evening that the home was to close and that they must all find alternative accommodation within a month. This is a bitter blow to the local community in a long saga involving the future of Riverview. It is hard to imagine how the building's owner, UandI, plan to fulfil their commitment to run a quality 80 bed care home at Riverview. This is the moment for the owner to rethink his response to the NHS Trust favourable proposal to redevelop Riverview as a combined care home and local Health and Wellbeing Centre--see news item below--a project that attracted wide local support and made the best possible use of the building..

Riverview project collapses

12 February 2018

Dartmouth area residents were shocked to learn in early January that the NHS negotiations with the owners of the Riverview building had collapsed when the NHS offer for a lease was rejected. Equally an offer to buy the building at the market rate (or even little higher) was also rejected. The gap between what the NHS felt it could reasonably offer and the amounts demanded by the owner was considerable. The owners have informed the NHS that they propose to lease  Riverview as an 80-bed care home. This seems unbelievable as the present provider has been struggling for months and is unable to make it a success. The NHS Trust is now exploring alternatives which will enable it to make good on its promises to establish a Health and Welfare Centre in Dartmouth and provide six intermediate care beds with nursing care provided by their district nursing team. We anxiously await further details of this alternative plan which has been promised "in weeks". We expect this to be a new building for which, we are told, a site has been identified. Dart patient is highly critical of the decision to close Dartmouth Community Hospital without first having the Health and Welfare Centre in place and operational. The provision of the IC beds by making short term arrangements with other care homes is far from satisfactory.

 

Closure of IC beds at Riverview

23 December 2017

The care home provider at Riverview has  closed the six beds set aside for Intermediate Care in the face of insufficient skilled staff. We hope this will only be temporary. The NHS's Intermediate Care Organisation (ICO) is negotiating to put in place new arrangements for the operation of the care home as part of the proposed new set up at Riverview which includes a new Health and Wellbeing Centre to accommodate the Dartmouth Medical Practice surgery and the NHS clinics held in Dartmouth. Our understanding is that these new arrangements will include six IC beds with staffed with properly trained nurses. The ICO hopes that these difficult negotiations will be completed early in 2018. Dartmouth residents will recall that at the time of the closure of Dartmouth's Community Hospital earlier this year, the NHS promised that there would be six IC beds set aside at the Riverview Care Home to replace those we had lost, which was  stated to be sufficient to meet the needs of Dartmouth area residents.

 

Occupational Therapists helping to support stroke survivors in the community 
 28 October 2017

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust have made many changes to help people with complex needs and conditions such as stroke, to receive the support and services they need in the comfort of their own homes. Immediately after a stroke this can be support from teams such as the Community Neuro Team or Physiotherapists; then as recovery progresses, teams such as Occupational Therapists who can help support people with more long term disabilities caused by the stroke.

See more here

Listening to patients--the findings of our Survey of patients' opinions: read what patients' said! 

20th August 2016

A big thank you to all those 782 patients who completed the PPG survey of patient opinion.  Please find a Summary of the main findings here. Click here to read the Main Report, And here for the Tables & Charts. And here for the respondents' Comments. Based on patients suggestions, we have prepared a draft Joint DMP-PPG Action Plan. This, together with responses of the Practice may be read here.

Dartmouth Medical Practice has upgraded its IT systems.  

This effects all patients so please read about the new system here.

Read about changes to on-line services here

Ambulances services under strain

27 July 2017

Our MP, Sarah Wollaston, arranged a meeting in Kingsbridge on July 26 to discuss proposed changes in local ambulance services. The Chief Executive of the Ambulance Trust explained the current constraints and that standards are changing. An eight minute response time in 75% of all category 1 cases (critical/life-threatening) is generally being met within Devon but category 2 and 3 cases (which currently don’t have a performance standard) can be subject to delays which are not critical but can be very uncomfortable for the affected patient. There is now a requirement for two-person ambulance crews rather than a single paramedic in a response car.  Rapid response vehicles have to go wherever needed so delays can occur simply because of positioning. As well as trained crews, there are rapid response volunteers who are not trained to give pain relief but if one attends a patient then the priority usually goes down. This is not so helpful in rural areas where the response is usually slower anyway. Response times for various areas of Devon were not revealed so we do not know what they are for Dartmouth.

Hospital Trust working flat out on River View

25 July 2017

Work on planning the conversion of River View in Townstal into a multipurpose health facility including GP Surgery, care home, and base for intermediate care, hospital clinics and Dartmouth Caring are proceeding apace.  South Hams planning office and the Quality Care Commission have endorsed the concept and are in discussion on design details including provision for parking and easy access. Negotiations are continuing with the care home provider but it is hoped these will be concluded by the end of August. The goal is to open the new facility by year end.

Less Waiting to See a Doctor

7 June 2017

Graham Ray told Dart Patients they can now get an appointment to see a doctor within five working days compared to an average of 12 days nationally. This was a key message from the new Practice Manager at the Dartmouth Medical Practice addressing the annual meeting of Dart Patients on Tuesday night, 6th June.

 

There was a lively discussion of the progress being made in establishing new health facilities at River View. Lee Baxter, Assistant Director of Health and Social Care at the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, reassured the meeting that this important project is still on track to open by the end of 2017. 

 

A speaker at the meeting argued that Dartmouth Hospital should not have been closed until the new River View centre was up and running. Another speaker wanted to know whether buses would take elderly patients close enough to River View and whether there would be sufficient parking there. The delay in finalising the lease for River View was also causing concern. 

 

Andie Day and Jo Anthony from Rowcroft explained that anyone who was dying and needed specialist palliative care could get it simply by asking for it. Palliative care was not limited to cancer patients or any other group. It was agreed that ways to access end-of-life care needed to be better publicised.

 

The meeting ended by re-electing Pierre Landell-Mills as Dart Patients’ Chair,  and electing Iain McCall as Vice-Chair, and Nick Hindmarsh as Secretary. See full report of the Annual Meeting here.

Graham Ray told Dart Patients they can now get an appointment to see a doctor within five working days compared to an average of 12 days nationally. This was a key message from the new Practice Manager at the Dartmouth Medical Practice addressing the annual meeting of Dart Patients on Tuesday night, 6th June.

 

There was a lively discussion of the progress being made in establishing new health facilities at River View. Lee Baxter, Assistant Director of Health and Social Care at the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, reassured the meeting that this important project is still on track to open by the end of 2017. 

 

A speaker at the meeting argued that Dartmouth Hospital should not have been closed until the new River View centre was up and running. Another speaker wanted to know whether buses would take elderly patients close enough to River View and whether there would be sufficient parking there. The delay in finalising the lease for River View was also causing concern. 

 

Andie Day and Jo Anthony from Rowcroft explained that anyone who was dying and needed specialist palliative care could get it simply by asking for it. Palliative care was not limited to cancer patients or any other group. It was agreed that ways to access end-of-life care needed to be better publicised.

 

The meeting ended by re-electing Pierre Landell-Mills as Dart Patients’ Chair,  and electing Iain McCall as Vice-Chair, and Nick Hindmarsh as Secretary. See full report of the Annual Meeting here.

Dartmouth Community hospital has closed

30 March 2017

On 26th January our local Clinical Commissioning Group Governors decided to close four community hospitals including Dartrmouth Hospital. Staff have been told this may happen within the next six weeks and patients who are not fit to be cared for a home will be placed in intermediate care beds. Four IC beds will be available at River View for rehabilitation and end-of life-care, and more if justified. Other plans for the Dartmouth area include establishing a Health and Wellbeing Centre at River View in Townstal during 2017 which will accomodate the GP Practice, some clinical outpatient care, and Dartmouth Caring. 11 new intermediate care staff have been appointed to work in our locality (which stretches from the moor to the sea) to enable more patients to be treated at home. They will be based at a new hub  in the Totnes Community Hospital which will also accomodate more clinics and the Minor Injuries Unit operationg 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm.  See the full proposals by clicking  here. While we are sad to lose our community hospital, Dart Patients believes that the new arrangements, once fully in place, promise to deliver significantly improved health care.

 
We are among the best....
30th March 2017
South Devon and Torbay’s GPs have been rated among the best in the country, according to new research. The Health Service Journal – a national specialist publication – collated all Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports on England’s GP practices published by 1 March 2016, and found that more than 99 per cent of those in South Devon and Torbay were rated as good or better, with 13.9 per cent rated as outstanding. This is the highest possible rating, which classifies the service as performing “exceptionally well”. Further information here: http://bit.ly/2oh43JC