Drop-in sessions at Axminster Hospital

axminster-hospitalThe Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust provides community healthcare services at Axminster and Seaton community hospitals. In order to provide a more resilient and safe inpatient service, the Trust is temporarily transferring inpatient beds at Axminster to Seaton. This will create one 18-bed inpatient service for the whole area.

We appreciate this decision will cause concern among the local community. Please accept an invite to one of our drop-in sessions (see times below).

Managers and clinicians will be on hand to explain the patient safety issues behind this transfer and answer any questions you may have.

Everyone is welcome to attend, although space is limited at the hospital and we only have room for up to 15 people at a time.

Drop-in sessions will take place at Axminster Hospital on:

Monday 20 October 2 – 4pm
Monday 27 October 2 – 4pm
Monday 3 November 2 – 4pm
Monday 10 November 2 – 4pm
Monday 17 November 2 – 4pm

For more information, please call Nellie Guttmann, Engagement Lead, on 01271 313971 or 07527 329414 or e-mail her at nellieguttmann@nhs.net

Poster (pdf)

Safer Staffing: temporarily transfer of inpatient beds in Axminster to Seaton – Stakeholder information (pdf)

Please leave any further comments on this page – https://www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/consultation/comments/

Posted in News.

Last updated: March 6, 2018


  1. Dear Darryn Allcorn
    Please supply details of all advertisements for recruitment to Axminster Hospital as requested on 23rd December.
    Thank You

    • Dear James

      Thank you for your question. I can confirm that generic recruitment advertising is carried out every month, covering a number of vacancies in the Eastern region. The adverts are placed on NHS jobs – the only website containing all verified NHS vacancies. We have found that this is the most effective way of recruiting staff.

      In addition, senior nurses at the Trust have attended recruitment and skills fairs across the UK and republic of Ireland to promote the benefits of being a nurse in Devon. When we interview nurses, we always ensure that those not chosen for the particular role but whom are still employable are offered an alternative vacancy.

      The recruitment team have sent me an email confirming that:

      “We have advertised vacancies on NHS Jobs monthly since July 2014 in specific Eastern Clusters. The cluster relevant here is SAS – Sidmouth/Axminster/Seaton”

      Below are a couple of screen shots of recent adverts that specifically mention the Axminster and Seaton cluster.

      I hope this information provides sufficient assurance that we are effective recruiters and continue to do our best competing in the skills market to fill our nursing vacancies.

      Yours sincerely

      Darryn Allcorn
      Interim Director of Organisational and Workforce Development

      July & October Adverts

  2. The question asked last week in Seaton was “Do you know of any community hospitals you have closed temporarily for reasons similar to Axminster’s proposed closure, that have reopened, ie not for reasons of refurbishment. Your answer was not comparable.

    Have you ever seen a hospital that has closed and then reopened?
    Yes, Stratton Hospital closed for over a year for a complete refurbishment and then reopened.
    Thank You

  3. In your Consultation document you mention that “if there are concerns about patient safety, you encourage your staff to lodge incident reports”. Are you able to publish the reports that have given you concern over the past 6 months.

    • Dear James

      Thank you for your message.

      The section of text you highlight came from the introductory section under ‘what is patient safety’.

      The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has a culture of reporting incidents and our high levels of incidents is positively viewed by NHS England (previously the National Patient Safety Agency) because organisations are safer healthcare providers if they report, understand and learn from incidents, errors and near misses.

      We would be more than happy to provide additional information on the incidents we report, but given they are wide ranging and in significant volume of data, please can you be more specific about the information and timescales you require?

      Please be aware, due to the volume of information requests we are receiving we will prioritise those that are directly related to the consultation. All others will be responded to in due course.

      Kind regards

      • Thank you for your reply. At the present time it is only those incidents reported that affected your decision to suggest moving Axminster Inpatients to Seaton that are relevant. You say these reports had a significant effect on your decision. Please share them with us all.

  4. At the NDHT consultation meeting at Axminster this week it was mentioned that the Care Quality Commission(CQC) had recently visited Axminster Hospital. That is not the case, The CQC did visit several of NDHT’s community Hospitals in July 2014 but not Seaton or Axminster.They visited Ilfracombe Bideford, Holsworthy, S Molton, Okehampton, Whipton, Tiverton, Honiton Ottery and Exmouth. There was no mention of staffing problems and any safety issue then or impending in any of the hospitals.The report was very favourable in all aspects.

    • Dear James

      Thank you for your message.

      You are correct, the Care Quality Commission did not visit Axminster or Seaton in their July 2014 inspection visit and please accept my apologies if this was the impression you were left with following the consultation meeting.

      We were delighted with the report from the CQC inspectors, particularly their assessment of our community services. However, we have taken extracts from the report in the consultation document to show where the CQC require us to take action in all of the community hospitals – staffing resilience, lone working and nurses maintaining their competencies are all areas we must address.

      Where we have been able to act immediately we have (ref: the £250,000 investment in additional nurses) but other sites were more difficult and took longer to consider. We know this is difficult – it has been very difficult for us to come to the communities with this deeply unpopular message but we are compelled to act because it required by our regulator and it is in the interests of the longer term safety and quality of patient care.

      It is highly likely that the CQC will conduct a return visit in Spring 2015 to check our progress against the areas of concern that were highlighted in July 2014. We can expect them to look at the safety of staffing in our community hospitals. By then, we would prefer that we had been able to resolve the issues ourselves as opposed to the CQC using their regulatory powers, i.e. to effect an immediate solution or closure.

      Kind regards

  5. Can you please provide detail of recruitment done by the Trust on behalf of Axminster Hospital for the past 12 mts, since you have known that there was going to be a staffing problem.
    Since when was it decided that no permanent jobs could be offered in Axminster when advertising due to a) the uncertainty of it’s future while the CCG made it’s decision on the future and b)your contract is in it’s final year. Do you never offer permanent posts during the final year of your contract with the CCG?

    • Dear James

      We have published information on our staffing and recruitment activities here (https://www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Questions-and-Concerns-151214-FINAL.pdf). Like all NHS providers in England, we have been experiencing difficulties recruiting to all registered nurse vacancies, particularly in our smaller community hospitals for more than the last 12 months – this is a worsening trend which is compounded by the current nursing shortages in England and is not a challenge unique to Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

      There is no impact on the employment status in our vacancies as a result of the CCG procurement process – the CQC and national safer staffing requirements apply to all providers regardless of the outcome of the CCG’s consultation and as such we continue to recruit to frontline posts substantively (permanent contracts). The Trust has not made any decision to not recruit to permanent positions within the locality.

      Your point about the difficulties faced in recruitment to services which are named as proposed to close or change in a CCG consultation document is more interesting and relevant to the current situation. Any consultation on the future configuration of NHS services causes problems for providers who bear the responsibility of maintaining services during periods of intense change and uncertainty. We have been proud of our staff for keeping their heads and remaining focussed on delivering excellent care to the patients who need them today and tomorrow. That’s not to say it has been an easy six months and we look forward to the outcome of the CCG’s consultation in Devon.

      Providers issue posts under a variety of permanent, fixed term, secondment or temporary terms and conditions to maximise the flexibility of the workforce. However, at a time when there are national shortages any uncertainty in future models of care will only put extra challenges on recruitment to these areas.

      Kind regards
      Darryn Allcorn
      Interim Director of Workforce and Organisational Development

      • Thank you for guiding me to the already published details of recruitment and staffing needs from the consultation meeting on 8th Dec. It is the lack of detail that I refer to. Please just publish the list of precise advertisements, which you feel were targeting recruitment at Axminster hospital among others. I am concerned that it is the very nature of these advertisements that is part of the reason why recruitment has failed. So detail please.

  6. Are you able to answer my query about access for Lyme Regis/Charmouth patients to Axminster Hospital beds that I first asked 2 wks ago? Patients registered with the Lyme Med Centre can apparently be admitted to Axminster but not under the care of their own GP. This is a very unusual situation and unlikely to be in the patients best interest. One of the major advantages of Community Hospitals is that patients are looked after by their own GP.
    Thank You
    James Vann

  7. 1 Please will you tell me why you picked Seaton in stead of Axminster to house the beds ?

    2 Please can you confirm the date of the end of the Temporary Period to which the Axminster beds will be in Seaton?

    Thank you for your early reply

    Peter Baulch

    • Thank you very much for your comment, we have provided answers to your questions below; we do hope they are helpful.

      We would also like to invite you to attend a drop-in session taking place on Mondays at the hospital between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. This is an opportunity to ask any questions or raise concerns about the temporary move of inpatient beds from Axminster to Seaton.

      1 Please will you tell me why you picked Seaton in stead of Axminster to house the beds ?

      I would like reassure you that this was a hard decision and one we did not take lightly. Both hospitals can accommodate 18 beds. Our decision was based on two factors. The first is that the acuity (level of dependence and illness) of patients around Seaton is higher than Axminster. The second is that Axminster has a wide variety of other day services (26 in fact). Seaton does not share that same range and removing beds from Seaton would leave the hospital virtually empty.

      2 Please can you confirm the date of the end of the Temporary Period to which the Axminster beds will be in Seaton?
      Unfortunately we are unable to provide a date at this point, we apologise for the anxiety and frustration that this may cause.
      Any permanent changes that are made will be dependent on the outcome of the long term consultation that the NEW Devon CCG are carrying out with the community.

      Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information

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