Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has welcomed the announcement that the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, along with Axminster League of Friends and Action Group, plan to re-open inpatient beds at Axminster Community Hospital in July 2015.
A Joint Action Team, consisting of the Northern Devon NHS Healthcare Trust, The Axminster League of Friends, The Hospital Action Group and the Seaton League of Friends, was created in January 2015 to investigate how funds, generously provided by the Axminster League of Friends, could be used to re-instate 16 inpatient beds at Axminster Community hospital while also maintaining the 16 beds in Seaton Community Hospital.
This work followed the decision made by the Trust on January 7th 2015 to temporarily consolidate the two 10 bedded inpatient units at Axminster and Seaton to Seaton Hospital due to staff shortages and safety concerns the Trust had relating to small inpatient units.
In order to re-open the inpatient unit the NHS Trust needed to fill 420 hours registered nursing posts. To ensure units are not reliant on agency or bank nursing staff at least 80 per cent of these hours needed to be filled with substantively-employed nurses.
On Monday 11th May 2015, at the Joint Action Group meeting at Axminster Hospital, the Trust announced that this 80 per cent target had been surpassed and that the Trust was in a position to create a full roster of nurses. The aim is for the unit to re-open during July 2015.
“I am delighted that both Axminster and Seaton Community Hospitals will soon have the in-patient beds and nurses needed to serve our aging and growing communities. I would like to thank the NHS Trust, the Axminster League of Friends, the Hospital Action Group and the Seaton League of Friends for all their hard work in achieving this. I have long campaigned to keep the keep in-patient beds open at both Axminster and Seaton and I will continue to champion the role community hospitals in Devon.“
Neil spoke at the public meeting on Saturday 7th February 2015 regarding Axminster Hospital and met with local Clinical Commissioning Group.
On 10th February 2015 Neil met with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, to discuss the matters of the new contracts for the running of community hospitals in the Eastern part of Devon and also the future of cottage hospitals.
On 24th February 2015, during Health Oral Questions in the House of Commons, Neil raised the case of Axminster Hospital and the role of community hospitals in Devon.