Scrutiny committee wants failures of Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to be addressed

Unanimous action is being taken as a result of concerns raised by East Devon District Council’s Scrutiny Committee over the loss of both community hospital beds and minor injuries services in the district.  Following consideration by Cabinet, the Council will now be writing to East Devon MPs Neil Parish and Hugo Swire, to ask them to press Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to overturn the decision made by the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), which could adversely impact many rural East Devon communities.

Councillors will also be writing to the Chairman of the Devon County Council (DCC) Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee to formally express their concerns, regarding the NEW Devon CCG’s failure of process. They will be asking that this particular issue be discussed at the next DCC Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny meeting on 14 September 2015.

Cabinet members have also upheld the Scrutiny Committee’s criticism of the NEW Devon CCG’s decision to remove/reduce the total number of overnight inpatient beds and its failure - despite repeated requests -to publish detailed financial costs that would justify its service closure. Members have also agreed that the NEW Devon CCG has failed to take into proper account the views of East Devon District Council, as well as many residents and community groups who are strongly opposed to the closures.

Community hospitals affected in East Devon • Exmouth and Honiton Hospitals – in-patient beds to be reduced • Axminster and Ottery St Mary Hospitals – all in-patient beds to be closed • Axminster, Ottery St Mary, Seaton and Sidmouth Hospitals – minor injuries unit to be closed

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Deputy Leader of East Devon District Council and ward member for Axminster, said:

It is disappointing that the NEW Devon CCG has taken this decision so prematurely. There is a distinct lack of analysis  of data regarding the discharge of patients from the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital. We are also expecting a decision very shortly on the contract for the provision of services, which could have a significant effect on the future provision of clinical services in the NEW Devon CCG area.

I was a member of the stakeholder group, which was commissioned by the NEW Devon CCG.  We met on five occasions, including two all-day workshops. From this work, the group, under the chairmanship of Sir John Evans, produced a 100 page report, with a strong recommendation to retain the beds in all five Wakley community hospitals. This report and its recommendations has been totally ignored by the NEW Devon CCG Board.

Councillor Roger Giles, Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, said:

I am deeply shocked at the decision taken by the NEW Devon CCG, which will not serve the best interests of East Devon’s communities. A great deal of hard work has been undertaken by local campaign groups, who have tried to retain inpatient beds, but this, together with a comprehensive report on East Devon community hospitals, produced by the stakeholder group under the chairmanship of Sir John , has apparently not been taken into consideration.