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One-stop shop to cover healthcare

AMBITIOUS plans to bring health care under one roof in Dartmouth have come a step closer. The move would see the town’s community hospital close and a new one-stop-shop built at Townstal offering patient beds, better out-patient facilities and minor surgical procedures, GP clinics, community health and care services with links to the voluntary sector. The South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group that looks after health care services wants to bring about joined-up health care in the town. It says the time has come to upgrade services offered by the hospital and Dartmouth Medical Practice has outgrown its premises at Victoria Road and needs to expand. The new model of care being explored was unveiled to a meeting of health and community representatives in the town. GPs told the gathering at the yacht club that the limitations of their present surgery was preventing them from improving services. Dr Andy Freeman, a partner at Dartmouth Medical Practice, said: ‘We have outgrown our premises and can’t expand our services for patients in the way we would want. ‘We are also a training practice, which means we are qualified to train new doctors to become GPs. Having more capacity would allow us to put GP training at the heart of Dartmouth and help shelter us from the national crisis in GP training.’ League of Friends, local councillors, patient and care representatives were present at the meeting where there was unanimous support for a new, modern model of care that would allow community health and social care providers to be fully coordinated with seamless team-working. Among the 25 people present was league of friends chairman Carol Lingard, Dartmouth deputy mayor Richard Cooke, county councillor Jonathan Hawkins, district councillor Hilary Bastone, Rokie Schiffner from the Dartmouth Patient Participation Group, Dee Nutt and Alison Stocks from Dartmouth Caring, and Iris Pritchard from Townstal Community Partnership.A spokesman for the South Devon and Torbay CCG said: ‘It was agreed that the GP practice and the existing community hospital premises had served the town well for very many years. ‘But they were unanimous in agreeing the time had come to adapt. ‘Townstal would be the best location for the new one-stop shop for healthcare, the meeting agreed, as it would provide easier access for GP’s practice patients from surrounding villages such as Strete, Stoke Fleming, Black-awton, Dittisham, Blackpool Sands, Bowden, Allaleigh, Capton, Hallwell, Slapton and Torcross.’ Dr Ben Titford, the Moor to Sea locality commissioning lead for South Devon and Torbay CCG who opened the meeting, said commissioners wanted to improve services in Dartmouth, but only by working with the local community. South Devon and Torbay CCG said the plans would take many months to bring about, with a range of different organisations needing to be involved. Further meetings will be held in the town in the months ahead. Carol Lingard, chairman of the Dartmouth Hospital League of Friends, said: ‘We are behind the plans but want to make sure there is a smooth transition and beds are secure.’

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