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Apologies For Absence
To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Cottle-Hunkin, Councillor Pennington and Councillor Woodhouse, Kenton Baker (Non-Elected Member) and Staci Dorey (Head of Legal and Governance).
RESOLVED: That in accordance with Procedure Rule A4.3 of the Torridge District Council Constitution, the meeting was declared inquorate. Members in attendance remained to receive an update from NHS professionals.
Update on the Health Trust Integration & Our Future Hospital Programme
To receive an update from partners in Health regarding the integration of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) and The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E), and the Our Future Hospital Programme.
Chair introduced Katherine Allen (Director of Strategy) and Zahara Hyde (Director of Estate and Property), who thanked members for the invite to update on the Health Trust Integration and Our Future Hospital Programme.
The Director of Strategy provided a detailed update on the integration of the 2 Trusts. A presentation provided background to the rationale for the merger, confirmed what had been achieved so far and updated on the key achievements to date.
The Director of Estate and Property then provided an update in relation to the New Hospital Programme. A summary of the journey was provided, and the detail of the Strategic Outline Case was explained - including the reasoning for planned investment and the refurbishment and design plans. The progress and challenges experienced so far were then highlighted.
It was stated that the project was currently awaiting the outcome of Government discussions and it was hoped that detail on the level of investment would follow soon.
It was explained that the hospital site was a Cohort 4 project and pilot site on the new standardised design for NHS buildings, and what this meant in terms of the project. Members were provided with an overview of the previous 6 months, specifically work to align the merger of the Trusts with the planned New Hospital Programme. Community engagement work with One Northern Devon was also highlighted, as well as 2 recent capital investment projects at the hospital:
· Same Day Emergency Care opened in December 2022
· A new Discharge Lounge was scheduled for completion in March 2023.
Finally, it was expected that a new detailed outline business case would be needed in 2023.
Members were asked questions:
Following a query about the build programme it was confirmed that the planned date to break ground at the site – 2025 – had not changed and this would be a three-phase development, which would focus on redeveloping the hospital site and facilities. It was confirmed that all the work would be completed whilst the hospital remained operating and services to the public would be maintained throughout each phase.
Cllr Leather joined the meeting at 18:27
Following a question in relation to access to the site and whether there was potential to move to a more accessible location, it was confirmed that an options appraisal would consider this but within the financial envelope allocated nationally it would not be possible to construct a new hospital.
Members asked if there were any concerns regarding staffing at both hospitals. The Director of Strategy highlighted the benefits of being part of a university or teaching hospital and the resulting clinical trials and research that can come from this. However, the current challenges of marketing the hospital to potential staff in the current climate were noted.
There was a continued discussion on staffing and agency staff levels locally. It was confirmed that Devon’s reliance on agency staff was proportionally higher than other areas and there is a continued aim to reduce the overall spend going forward. Members were ... view the full minutes text for item 186.