I am really grateful to the patients, staff and public who have shared their views with me and my team about the value you place on your local hospital services. This feedback is helping to inform a vision for how we can continue providing excellent, resilient services to our local community.
We have received some feedback from people who are worried about why we are doing a review of some services at NDDH. There is lots of information available, but I would like to address the specific concerns I’m hearing below.
There is currently a collaborative agreement in place between NDHT and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. This was established to support NDHT in addressing the challenges we face in providing acute services and builds on the long-standing clinical networking already in place between the two trusts, for example in providing cancer services in northern Devon.
This agreement is due to end in summer 2020 and by then, we need to have determined what the organisational form of NDHT will be and what the relationship with the RD&E will look like. We are undertaking a review of services and asking what is important to people about hospital services to ensure that we make this decision based on what clinical arrangements best meet the needs of the population of northern Devon.
We began this process with the agreed starting point that our hospital in North Devon has a 24/7 A&E. We then selected another 10 services which ensure we meet people’s immediate healthcare needs.
I want to emphasise that we are doing this work in order to make a decision on organisational form and whilst we will explore what our services require in order to make that decision, this exercise alone will not make any conclusions about service configuration. The service development work will continue after the decision on organisational form is made and there will be plenty more opportunities for engagement.
It is really important to us that our local communities continue to be part of these conversations so we can develop a shared understanding of the challenges we face and our vision for the future. More information, including details about how people can share their views, is available at www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/hospital-services
Suzanne Tracey, chief executive, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust