In July 2014 the Board of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust made the decision to implement Safer Staffing. This was to address the immediate and escalating patient safety concerns arising from very small (10 beds or less) community hospital inpatient units.
This decision saw the temporary closure of Ilfracombe, Crediton, Seaton and Axminster hospitals.
Implementation of this decision took place in November 2014 and the Trust undertook an engagement period in the towns listed above to ensure the public knew what was happening and understood reasons for the changes. Drop in sessions, public meetings, meetings with local MPs, town councils and League’s of Friends were all held to ensure the local communities were fully informed.
The Trust chose not to undertake formal consultation about its decision because of the immediate and escalating patient safety concerns caused by lone-working registered nurses in small community hospitals (units with 10 beds or fewer). The Trust was also experiencing staffing shortages at this time which was resulting in a high dependency on agency staff.
A detailed report of the engagement activity carried out in Ilfracombe can be found here: