I very much welcome the decision by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that there are sufficient grounds on which to refer the closure of Teignmouth Hospital to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP). This in itself is vindication for those who have quite rightly raised concerns about the way in which the decision to close Teignmouth Hospital was reached.
This decision moves the process on and is an incredibly positive and welcome step forwards. If the IRP were to find that the proposed reconfiguration of services in South Devon are not in the best interest of the population, it is most likely that they will require NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to re-run the consultation process, not stop the plans all together. However, this would therefore be an opportunity to reaffirm strongly the case for both keeping Teignmouth Hospital open and holding the CCG to account, ensuring they actually take into account and reassess the full health needs of the local community, especially post-Covid.
In this scenario, the CCG needs to:
- Properly take into account the impact of Covid-19 and long Covid on the population and service provision;
- Take into account the situation regarding those in receipt of home-based care. The reality is that whilst home-based care can often be most beneficial, it can also be unachievable due to both the healthcare needs of an individual and a limit on resources. Having rehabilitation beds at Teignmouth made sense for the community;
- run a separate consultation specifically on the closure of Teignmouth Hospital, collecting and using new up-to-date data, including on patient experience of those cared for at home, on the impact of the increasing demands being put on Dawlish Hospital and on the adequacy of the new hub at Teignmouth that is currently missing.
Having been involved with this campaign since 2014, this is a fantastic step in the right direction both for the local Teignmouth community and the wider provision of healthcare in Teignbridge.
Attached is the letter from the Secretary of State to Devon County Council confirming his decision.