Future of Watcombe Hall to be considered

Posted on 5th July, 2006

As part of a review of rehabilitation services and wider plans for modernisation and financial recovery, Devon Partnership NHS Trust has announced that it is considering the future of Watcombe Hall in Torbay. Watcombe Hall is an 11 bed unit that provides an inpatient rehabilitation service.  It provides care and support for adults with severe and enduring mental health problems as they make their journey towards recovery and independent living.  The site originally provided 17 beds, but an annexe containing six beds was closed several years ago. Commenting on the review of rehabilitation services, Chief Executive, Iain Tulley, said:  “We are at a stage in our organisation’s development where we are reviewing many aspects of what we do, with a view to providing easier access, better care and more ‘joined-up’ services for local people.  At the heart of everything is a greater focus on the recovery of the individual.  At the same time, we are committed to reducing the reliance on beds and providing more services at home or close to home, avoiding admission to a hospital or inpatient unit unless it is absolutely necessary.  “Our review of rehabilitation services is looking at the extent to which inpatient units, such as Watcombe Hall, are fit-for-purpose in providing modern, recovery-oriented services and whether our resources might be better invested in supporting a range of community-based alternatives.  “Watcombe Hall is a wonderful building set in beautiful grounds and the team there do an extremely good job.  However, it is 200 years old, far too big, poses a number of structural, maintenance and environmental problems and does not promote social inclusion because of its isolation from the main town.  Given these factors, alongside the drive to move away from institutional forms of care, it is likely that we will propose the closure of Watcombe Hall at our Board meeting next month. “People are understandably very attached to Watcombe Hall and we are all too aware that some service users, carers, families and members of our staff will be concerned at the prospect of its closure.  They will also want firm reassurances about the services we are going to put in place if the unit does close and we are already working hard to draw up detailed plans on this front, which we will be sharing shortly.” A proposal on the future of Watcombe Hall will be presented at the Trust’s Board meeting in Barnstaple on 26thJuly 2006.  The proposal will incorporate the findings and recommendation of the Trust’s Clinical Cabinet, which comprises doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals.   If the Board supports the closure of Watcombe Hall, there will be further consultation with service users, staff and other stakeholders.  Detailed plans will be agreed to ensure that robust arrangements are in place for the care and treatment of current service users and new ones.