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North Devon District Hospital closure 'not accurate' says Trust

Rumours circulating online are not true the Trust says. Credit: ITV News

The North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has been forced to issue a statement about false information being shared on social media.

According to the Trust, a Facebook post that has been widely shared states that the emergency department and maternity unit at North Devon District Hospital are closing and that staff have been asked not to speak about the closure until after the election.

A spokesperson for the Trust has said:

This is not accurate. The facts are that urgent and emergency, stroke and maternity services are being reviewed as part of the acute services review. This review is one of seven priorities outlined in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for wider Devon.

– The North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Credit: ITV News

The Trust reassures patients that clinicians are meeting regularly to look out how acute services can be delivered and this work has not finished yet.

The acute services review is "ongoing, and any proposals will be shared once they are finalised". Therefore, the Trust says, "any posts on social media that claim to know the outcome of the acute services review are not based in fact".

If the implementation of any proposals would result in significant change, there will be a formal consultation before final decisions are made, in line with our statutory obligations.

– The North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust


Senior children's doctor sacked after charges of indecent images of children

A senior children's doctor has been sacked from a hospital after being charged with offences relating to indecent images of children.

Jonathan Walsh, 46, was a consultant paediatrician in the children's and adolescent services department of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust.

He was suspended from his role in July, but has now been permanently fired after he was charged with seven counts of making and distributing indecent images of children.

He is due to appear at Barnstaple Magistrates Court on July 15.

At the launch of the police investigation in September 2015 we took immediate action to exclude Dr Walsh from working at the Trust and informed the General Medical Council. It is our understanding that none of these charges relate to contact offences and none of these images relate to patients at NDDH.

As of 15th June 2016 we dismissed Dr Walsh from our employment with immediate effect.

This news has deeply shaken our whole team at NDDH and we know it will also shock the community.

– George Thomson, Medical Director for Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

A specialist phone line has now been set up to deal with any concerns.

The number is 0300 123 1744 and is open from 9-7pm weekdays - with a recorded message at weekends.

Hospital statement after inspection said some services require improvement

North Devon District Hospital

North Devon District Hospital has released the following statement after a recent report found some services still require improvement.

It's after an inspection in 2014 which found that six of the eight areas inspected were rated 'good' or 'outstanding', but that improvements were required in end of life care, emergency and urgent care, and maternity and gynaecology services.

This time the inspectors visited in August 2015 and saw the improvements and progress the Trust had made in these three areas.

We are really pleased that the CQC has recognised the improvements we have made across these aspects of care. We are particularly pleased our end of life services provided within our community hospitals and our health and social care teams have improved to a ‘good’ rating. This is a fantastic achievement for our patients and our staff who have worked so hard to improve the consistency and responsiveness of care we offer to patients near the end of their lives.

– Chief Executive, Dr Alison Diamond

However, there is more to be done. The report makes clear that the Trust still has improvements to make in terms of patient flow through the North Devon District Hospital and staffing ratios in A&E.

'Patients should be assured' about North Devon Healthcare

Some key services at Barnstaple hospital still aren't good enough, according to inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission criticised Northern Devon Healthcare Trust for its A&E waiting times, and the quality of its gynaecology, maternity and end of life care.

But they did note some improvements since the last inspection a year ago, including in infection prevention:


Hospital wins innovation award for cancer database

System designer Rufus Smith after collecting the award from Rory Bremner (right) Credit: North Devon District Hospital

North Devon District Hospital has won a national award for innovation for its computerised cancer pharmacy system. It allows the hospital to log and follow all aspects of patients' chemotherapy treatment.

The time-saving, custom software then lets the hospital develop daily treatment schedules and worksheets to simply the types and amount of medication that need to be made up. It also manages stock control.

It was developed by Rufus Smith, a pharmacy expert at the hospital. The hospital trust says it has saved £20,000 by developing the software in-house, for free.

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