North Devon could get a glimpse of the future of health and social care with the launch of an innovative new project in Torrington.
The project has been developed by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and centres on their joint vision to support people to live safely and independently in their own homes.
The idea is for people who may ordinarily have been an inpatient at Torrington Hospital to instead be treated in the comfort of their own homes by the Trust’s expanded community rehabilitation and nursing teams.
The six-month project, called Transforming Torrington Together, is due to start by 1 September.
It is part of the Care Closer to Home strategy launched by NEW Devon CCG and follows significant investment and improvements to community services in the Torrington and Holsworthy cluster over the past two years.
The Trust’s therapy team in the cluster has seen a three-fold increase in staff while its community nurses are in the process of extending working hours to 8am to 8pm seven days a week.
Dr John Coop, the Trust’s clinical director for community services, said: “With an ageing population and people having more complex health issues, we and Trusts across the country need to explore new ways of working that focus on treating patients at or closer to home rather than in a hospital.
“We need to take proactive action now to face up to these challenges and ensure we can continue to provide high-quality, sustainable services in the future.
“We know that most people would prefer to be looked after in their own home, and Transforming Torrington Together will give us an excellent opportunity to test a new model of care.
“The community teams are able to provide all the treatment a patient would receive in hospital in the familiar surroundings of their own home, which has been proven to improve their recovery and overall health and wellbeing.”
During the course of the project, the 10 inpatient beds at Torrington Hospital will close but all outpatient clinics will continue as normal.
Current inpatients will be transferred to an alternative setting in a safe and planned way before 1 September while those requiring admission after the project has started will be able to go to Bideford or Holsworthy hospital.
Torrington Hospital staff will be redeployed to new roles based on their preferences and there will be no redundancies.
A task group involving local stakeholders is being set up, which will meet regularly to review the project’s progress, listen to any concerns that may be raised and provide updates to the community.
Dr John Womersley, chair of the Northern Locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, welcomed the new project in Torrington and said the views of local people and organisations were vital to its success.
He said: “We welcome the development of the Transforming Torrington Together project as it will mean patients will be able to access health services closer to their homes, which they have told us they would prefer.
“At present we treat many people in hospital when they could be treated in other ways or in a setting closer to their home.
“As the local population ages and increases, we need to take proactive steps to develop more models of care like this to ensure that we respond to these changes in a way that improves the sustainability and quality of services.”
- The Torrington and Holsworthy community rehabilitation team has grown three-fold in the past year, from seven full-time equivalent staff to 21. The investment has enabled staff to support people with greater complexities in the community, while patients’ length of stay in hospital has reduced. The team cares for about 80 people in their own homes and typically makes 35 face-to-face contacts with these service users each week.
- The community nursing team is in the process of expanding its service to 8am to 8pm seven days a week, having previously been 9am to 5pm. The team cares for about 100 people in their own homes and curre