This group has now had 5 meetings. Its purpose is to bring together those who will be working in the new Health and Wellbeing Centre to discuss how we work, the layout of the building, the additional services we can offer, and what we want from the NHS and Adult Social Care by way of support.

Yesterday we were joined by Sarah Wollaston (MP) and Mairead Mcalinden (CEO -of the Intermediate Care Organisation), the NHS body leading on these changes.

These monthly meetings focus on a regular agenda:

1 – Updates on the contract and moving issues. -Yesterday we heard how the contract was progressing and alternatives and had a much more positive view of options and progress.

2 – A report back from those present: This time this also included a quick summary from Nick Hindmarsh about Dartmouth Caring’s ideas and plans for a wider range of services and longer opening hours, once DC has settled into the new accommodation.

3 – Latest data on the performance of the Intermediate Care Team:The group are now understanding the meaning of the data available and have refined the data they find useful, in order to hold the NHS to account on the promises they made. In terms of statutory packages of care, the success rates in meeting patient need the evidence would suggest week after week that this ranges from about 95-100%. Throughout this period no patient has not had care available on discharge from hospital. though in some cases interim provision has to be made until the final care package has been sourced.

This week we also looked at a relatively new programme, the Wellbeing Programme, a scheme that links the medical and voluntary sector, such as Dartmouth Caring and Dartmouth Medical Practice. The aim being that after the current patients medical interventions are complete additional support is available from DC, to help clients settle back into as independent a life style as they can manage.

The data we presented with also confirmed that since the hospital closed no Dartmouth patient who needed Intermediate Care, had to be found a bed outside Dartmouth. This is better than before, and possibly in part because there are 6 beds rather than the promised 4, an area where the NHS has gone beyond its offer during consultation.

In conclusion what is really changing is that the various groups represented at this meeting are coming together to form a common purpose, and see the bigger picture and are not exclusively focused on their own needs. This is building a genuine team, all f whom want to create a positive and better vision of healthcare for Dartmouth and the surrounding villages it serves.

Nick Hindmarsh