Posted on 16th November, 2006
Devon Partnership NHS Trust will consider extending the public consultation on the proposed closure of Watcombe Hall in Torbay at its Board meeting on 22 November 2006. Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive, Iain Tulley, said: “We had a very useful public meeting in Brixham last week and, over the past few months, we have made a good deal of headway in reassuring local people about the services that will replace Watcombe Hall if the decision is made to close it. “There has been passionate debate but all of our discussions with carers, families and the Patient and Public Involvement Forum have been very constructive. As the process has gone on, we have used their feedback to help shape the new service and it is very encouraging that there is now no real dispute about the theoretical model of care that we are proposing. “There is, however, still some anxiety around the fact that we have been unable to share a precise picture of what the service would look like and to provide certain specific details, such as the number of beds there will be and where they will be located. This is entirely understandable and we are keen to share this information with people, as part of the consultation process, to help allay any remaining concerns they may have. “We are confident that we will be in a position to share this level of detail during December but, as things stand, this would clearly come after the public consultation had been completed. Common sense tells us that if we can reassure local people by extending the process slightly, then that is what we should do. “We have said from the outset of the consultation process that we will not do anything in haste and that we will do everything possible to reassure people about the robustness of our proposals for the future. I will, therefore, be asking our Board to consider extending the consultation period by four weeks. If this proposal is accepted, then we will hold another public meeting during December to share the fine detail with people.” The public consultation into Watcombe Hall began on 1 September 2006 and is due to be completed on 24 November 2006. If the Board accepts the proposal to extend the consultation by four weeks, it would be completed on 22 December 2006. It is anticipated that the Trust’s Board will then make a final decision on the future of Watcombe Hall in January 2007. For more information, and details of how to participate in the consultation, please click here.