£4.6m investment in older people’s services

Posted on 17th February, 2010

The Board has now approved plans for a capital investment of £4.6m in three of our inpatient units for older people.  The project will see major refurbishments of the David Barlow Unit in Barnstaple (£1.3m), both wards at Franklyn Hospital in Exeter (£2.3m) and Fernworthy in Torbay (£1m).  The investment is great news for older people’s services and will deliver huge improvements in the quality and safety of the environments we provide. The planning, design and construction timetable for each site varies slightly but the suspension of the inpatient services at the units will start to happen soon and construction work will commence at all three locations before the end of the year.  Completion of the work is scheduled by the end of next summer.
We will continue to meet with staff, our partner organisations, local communities and other stakeholders over the coming months to talk about the broader challenges we face in older people’s mental health and to discuss our longer-term thoughts about the future provision of these services in Devon.  We have made it clear that we cannot continue to deliver services as we currently do.  We will not be able to meet the growing level of demand for services, deliver the key elements of the national dementia strategy around early diagnosis and intervention, meet the requirement to have separate organic and functional inpatient units or meet people’s needs for privacy and dignity.  We will be using the next year or so to test different ways of working and new models of care to help us assess the viability of our long-term plans to place a greater emphasis on community services and reduced reliance on inpatient facilities.  This is a detailed and challenging piece of work.  However, we hope to be able to demonstrate we can provide better access and a better overall service to more people by increasing our capacity in the community and reducing reliance on inpatient services. 
For more information contact Trevor Snowden at ruth.baker@nhs.net or trevor.snowden@nhs.net