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New use for Briseham

Posted on 10th June, 2005

The Briseham Unit, previously used by Devon Partnership NHS Trust to provide a range of mental health services for older people, could become the new community hospital for Brixham.  The unit sits on land immediately behind Brixham Hospital and is owned by Torbay PCT.    Commenting on this potential development, Devon Partnership NHS Trust Chief Executive, Iain Tulley, said:  “We had to make a very difficult decision at the end of last year to suspend the service at Briseham and we apologise for any distress or disruption that this has caused.   The service has remained suspended since then but we have made every effort to provide alternative arrangements for service users and their carers - and our staff deserve a vote of thanks for helping to manage this process.  “In the light of the principles and recommendations set out in the Sainsbury Centre review and the work that has been conducted with Torbay PCT, our Board last week approved a proposal to implement the new community-based model of care in South Devon.  The Board also approved a proposal to cease the use of Briseham as an older people’s mental health unit.  We are, however, committed to working with the PCT and other stakeholders to ensure that Briseham continues to play a role in the care of older people in the area.” Dr David Somerfield, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist for South and West Devon, added:  “In its previous form, Briseham provided much-valued services for local people and there is likely to be some understandable concern that these services will no longer be provided at the unit. However, I would want to reassure service users and their carers that we believe the new model of care being developed for South Devon will provide a very effective, convenient and flexible alternative.” Peter Colclough, Chief Executive for Torbay PCT, says that Briseham is a valuable asset and needs to continue to provide health services. “A move into Briseham would allow us to move patients out from wards built nearly 80 years ago, and significantly improve the environment and comfort for patients,” he says. “There have long been talks locally in Brixham with GPs, the League of Friends and other interested parties about how best to replace the ageing hospital, and it makes enormous sense to look at making the best use of Briseham.” Costed options are now being developed for a redesign of Briseham, including alterations and refurbishment, and the possibility of building a new linkway between both buildings. Any redevelopment of the building would need planning permission from Torbay Council, as well as business case approval from the South West Peninsula Strategic Health Authority.  The PCT will continue to work closely on its plans with local GPs and community health and social care staff, as well as Brixham League of Friends, who have long supported Brixham Hospital since being founded more than 40 years ago.

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