Background of questionnaire
IN response to the comments in the John Twyford column It's so difficult to swallow trust's MIU cure, Gazette, February 19, and comment in the letters column, we are sure that readers would appreciate the background to the survey and a correction of any misconceptions.
Let us deal with two major misunderstandings. Firstly, the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust did not originate the questionnaire. The Devon Doctors out-of-hours service will be available, as now, regardless of the outcome of the survey.
The history of this process is part of a project that was set up by the NHS with the creation of a Patient Centred Care Project Board at the hospital. This board included representation from the League of Friends and has existed for the past 12 months.
It is looking at ways to maximise the use of the hospital by identifying existing challenges and finding solutions that would result in an increase and improvement in the current services provided for Tiverton and district patients.
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A small sub-group of the League of Friends has been involved in this project from the outset and has considered individual parts of health provision at the hospital.
The League organised a successful public survey, which highlighted matters of concern which were felt could be improved. One such major concern was the service provided by the minor injuries unit. Following this survey a public meeting was held, attended by around 50 people. A number of individuals and representatives of organisations were willing to become a wider reference group.
Some 20 volunteers from this group agreed to form a consultation group which would represent the public in working with the NHS on proposed service provision at the hospital. Out of this meeting the Tiverton and District Health Service Choice group (CHOICE) was formed.
Members of CHOICE met subsequently with the NHS commissioners who agreed that the three options circulated with the current questionnaire were affordable and achievable and that further consultation needed to be put to the public – hence the questionnaire.
The results will be reviewed and a recommendation made to the commissioners of the NHS.
To see the three options and cast a vote visit www.middevon.gov.uk/getinvolvednow
Finally, we would stress and acknowledge that the experience of people using the Tiverton Hospital is almost without exception, excellent. However, the public may not be aware that effectively the service provision at the hospital does not fully utilise the space and facilities available. CHOICE, in partnership with the NHS through the Clinical Commissioning Group, will be looking to see where the health service provision at the hospital and throughout the district can be improved and maximised.
Chair of CHOICE