37. Devon

In October 2018, the chief executives of NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all STP leaders instructing them to come up with new five year plans by autumn 2019. The new five-year plans will replace those which were drawn-up in 2016 based on the previous five-year funding settlement to 2020-21. The new five year STP will be developed based on a new NHS England budget.

The letter notes that “It will be extremely important that you develop your plans with the proper engagement of all parts of your local systems and that they provide robust and credible solutions for the challenges you will face in caring for your local populations over the next five years.”

NOTE: The information on this page relates to the original STP drawn up in 2016, however much of the information is still relevant and could be part of the new STP.

What concerns have been raised about your STP?

Health planners are trying to reduce NHS deficits and think about ways to re-organise care. However getting the large deficit under control could prevent facilities being developed that can cope with the health and care social needs of local people.

Proposed changes

It is possible that 590 acute and community hospital beds  could be cut over the next five years. Amounting to a cut of one in six of the total beds.

Closure of 72 beds in the community hospitals in Seaton, Okehampton, Honiton and Exeter Community Hospital, Whipton.

Closure of community hospitals in Paignton, Teignmouth, Dartmouth, Bovey Tracey and Ashburton & Buckfastleigh.

Brixham's minor injuries unit (MIU) is to close and it will become a ‘clinical hub’. Objections to the plan include concerns about the distance of travel to the nearest MIU unit. Should the one main route into Brix­ham become blocked, as has happened following serious road accidents, the town is completely cut off.

There were concerns that North Devon District Hospital's acute services - maternity unit, 24 hour A&E and stroke services - would be closed, forcing some parents to travel more than 50 miles for treatment and women would be forced to travel to Exeter, Plymouth or Taunton to give birth. In June 2017, a review of these services concluded that they should stay; campaigners were delighted however there is still concern that this may only be the first step in a campaign to keep services at the hospital.

In official documents leaked to the HSJ and reported by the Independent, additional cost cutting measures for Devon could include:

  • Longer waiting times for elective care
  • Closure of wards and theatres
  • Staffing cuts
  • Ending funding for some treatments and prescriptions
  • Delaying or avoiding funding newly approved treatments

Changes to who organises care

Devon is set to become an integrated care system (ICS) from 1 April 2018, according to North, East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) and Devon County Council.