The latest draft of plans to reshape health and care services in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay by 2021 has been released.
It updates an earlier version submitted to NHS England in June.
The Wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plan sets out ambitious plans to improve health and care services for people across Devon in a way that is clinically and financially sustainable
Health and care organisations as well as local authorities across Devon have been working together to create the shared five-year vision to meet the increasing health and care needs of the population – while ensuring services are sustainable and affordable.
The STP provides the framework within which detailed proposals for how services across Devon will develop – between now and 2020/21.
A key theme throughout the STP is an increased focus on preventing ill health and promoting peoples’ independence through the provision of more joined up services in or closer to peoples’ homes.
Seven priority areas have been identified as key programmes of work:
· Ill health prevention and early intervention
· Integrated care model
· Primary care
· Mental health and learning disabilities
· Acute hospital and specialist services
· Increasing service productivity.
· Children and young people
Angela Pedder, lead chief executive for the Devon STP, said, “The NHS is one of this country’s proudest achievements and to secure its future, it has to respond to the challenges of rising demand.
“It is vital that we develop a clear plan for the future and I know people realise how important this is.
“Every pound we spend must be spent in the best way for all, regardless of where they live in Devon, and coming together with local government across Devon is helping us to find practical ways to do this.
“We are working with doctors, nurses and other health and care professionals who know what their communities need. Our shared aim is to ensure that all of us can continue to have excellent high quality care whenever we need it.”
Earlier this week, during a visit to Devon, Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, announced central investment to support three of Devon’s STP priorities: cancer services, primary care and mental health. This represents an important vote of confidence in the plans we are developing.
New Linac Radiotherapy equipment for Devon and Torbay
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust were this week designated as the first hospitals eligible to receive new, state of the art, linear accelerators (LINACs) over the coming year, under the recently announced £130m NHS England investment to upgrade radiotherapy equipment.
Recent advances in radiotherapy have helped target radiation doses at cancer cells more precisely. As a result, they enable better outcomes, with improved quality of life for patients and reduced NHS costs in the long term, through patients experiencing fewer side effects.
A new specialist secure mental health unit for South West
NHS England announced this week that it will fund a new secure mental health services adult unit reducing the need for people to travel out of the South West region. Up to 75 beds at a new hospital in Wellington will be commissioned by NHS England in collaboration with Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The Wellesley Hospital will enable patients to return to the South West from hospitals all over the country supporting people towards independence. The beds will be opened in phases according to patient need starting from January 2017.
GP surgeries in the South West to benefit from premises upgrade
NHS England has also announced this week that more than 30 GP schemes in the South West are set for new investment through its Estates and Technology Transformation Fund to improve premises and IT infrastructure and expand the range of services for patients. These new schemes are in addition to 33 schemes already completed in the South West and 25 either at construction or going through due diligence checks.
The document released today will be presented to all partner organisation boards or equivalent bodies for consideration and endorsement over the next six to eight weeks.
Following this, the organisations involved will then undertake an engagement exercise involving citizens, patients, service users, their representatives and voluntary sector groups. Feedback will further help shape the plans.
The NHS and its partners will then use the STP framework to develop proposals to improve care.
The STP confirms a review of some acute and specialist services.
The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon case for change identified concerns about quality and/or sustainability of some acute and specialist services, and prioritised Stroke, Maternity, Paediatrics and Neonatology, and Emergency and Urgent Care for urgent review (see Editors’ Notes).
A similar analysis was undertaken in Torbay and South Devon, which confirmed similar priorities.
In addition, medical directors from all of the Trusts in Devon identified a number of other services where clinical sustainability was causing some concern and where action may be necessary to secure reliable delivery.
The reviews are led by local clinicians (doctors, nurses and other professionals) and will commence shortly. Work to develop proposals for stroke services first; other service reviews will follow during the next year.
Dr Phil Hughes, medical director at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and lead for the Wider Devon STP Clinical Cabinet said: “Some of our services are under severe pressure and it is clear that doing nothing is not an option.
“In reviewing acute services we will engage widely with stakeholders and take into account their views so that they can help shape the plans to improve overall patient care. However, we will need to make some tough decisions and we will need to be clear with the public about where to put resources and to be clear with the public about the options.
“These choices will not always be easy, but NHS staff and the communities they serve need to work together to find the right answers.
“There are ever-more expensive drugs, new technologies and specialist interventions available to us that our current service model just wasn’t designed for, so we’re also unable to deliver services within our funding levels. The combined overspend for acute hospital care in Devon is £50million for this year, and will only increase if we don’t take action. We also have recruitment difficulties in some areas which impact on our ability to deliver services and create a reliance on expensive locum and temporary staff. “