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Matter of Urgency: Closure of Maternity Units
Items which in the opinion of the Chairman should be considered at the meeting as matters of urgency.
(An item taken under Section 100B (4) of the Local Government Act, 1972)
The Chairman had decided that the Committee should consider this item as a matter of urgency in order that Members maybe appraised of the impact of a recent public announcement concerning the temporary closure of the maternity units at Okehampton and Honiton Community Hospitals.
Ms Wilkinson Brice (Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Nurse, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) spoke to this item at the invitation of the Committee.
Ms Wilkinson reported that in the interests of patient safety and due to a combination of staff vacancies and unforeseen sickness absence, maternity services at Honiton and Okehampton Community Hospitals had been suspended and would remain suspended initially for three months until safe staffing levels were achieved. However, all antenatal and postnatal clinics, midwifery support and home birth services were unaffected and running as normal. For anyone requiring inpatient maternity care, immediate arrangements would be made for them to attend the main maternity unit in Exeter or Tiverton Birth Centre. This decision had been taken for operational reasons and had no connection with proposals outlined in the Devon-wide Acute Services Review.
In response to a Members’ question the Trust undertook to provide information about the proportion of home births and births at the Centres; and to provide a progress update on the situation to the next meeting of this Committee.
Members of the public may make representations/presentations on any substantive matter listed in the published agenda, as set out hereunder, relating to a specific matter or an examination of services or facilities provided or to be provided.
In accordance with the Council's Public Participation Rules, the Committee received and acknowledged oral representations made by Councillor R Giles, Mr S Craddock, Mr P Arnott, Mr B Sturtivant, Councillor J Goffey and Councillor M Allen on a matter to be considered by the Committee, namely ‘Your Future Care’ (Minute *11 Refers) and supporting a referral to the Secretary of State for Health.
The Chairman responded, thanking the speakers for their attendance and presentations which would be taken into account by the Committee during its subsequent deliberations.
(a) Background Evidence
Report of the County Solicitor (CS/17/23), attached (Pages 1 - 9)
(b) NEW Devon CCG and Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust: Response
Report of NEW Devon CCG and Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust, attached (Pages 11 - 20)
(c) Implementation Assurance Panel: Meetings held on 12 July and 19 July 2017 and Hospital and Community Visits
Chairman and Members in attendance to report
(Councillor P Twiss declared a personal interest this matter by virtue of his membership of the East Devon District Council and its Health Scrutiny Committee)
(Councillors M Shaw and I Hall attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item)
Dr S Manton, (Director of Strategy, North East and West Devon (NEW Devon CCG) and South Devon and Torbay CCG), Mr R Sainsbury (Chief Operating Officer, NEW Devon CCG), Mr E Wilkinson Brice (Deputy Chief Executive/Chief Nurse, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust); and Ms A Jones (Director of Integration Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust) attended and spoke to this item at the invitation of the Committee.
The Committee received the report of the County Solicitor (CS/17/23) on an evaluation of the extent to which the requirements of a referral to the Secretary of State for Health had been met, to which regard was had by Members during the Committee’s consideration of this matter. The Report provided an overview of the answers that the Clinical Commissioning Group had provided to the questions that Scrutiny had asked and invited the Scrutiny Committee to determine if it was satisfied.
The Report addressed in turn the nine points that were required by the scrutiny guidance for a referral to the Secretary of State for Health.
County Councillors attending under Standing Order 25 were invited to speak and questioned the rationale behind the decisions by NEW Devon CCG and impact on the respective communities of the proposed closure of community beds at Seaton, Honiton, Axminster and Okehampton and calling for a referral to the Secretary of State for Health.
The Chairman reported the receipt of representations (including from East Devon Health Scrutiny Committee protesting at the proposed closure of beds in the Eastern Locality and from East Devon District Council protesting at the bed closures in Seaton and Honiton without assurance about sufficient capacity for home care) referring to long distances carers would need to travel and for patients needing in-patient care.
The Committee then considered the report of NEW Devon CCG and Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust outlining the new model of care in the Eastern Locality and explanation of the implementation process (which would result in the reduction of in-patient beds from 143 to 72 in the Locality). The Committee also received a presentation from the NEW Devon CCG covering:
· why the new Model of Care was needed and how implementation would ensure continued high-quality patient care;
· the change in focus from bed-based care to a home-based model and why
· how the investments in community health services would enable people to be independent and in their own homes;
· the impact of the proposals on approximately three patients a week per site – patients who will be able to be treated at home and will no longer have to remain in a community hospital;
· the assurance process to date.
The Chairman, Vice Chairman and Councillor Ackland also reported on their visit to an Integration Team and attendance as ... view the full minutes text for item 11.