I know there has been much concern among Dartmouth ­residents about the future of health services in the town and that people were sorry to see the closure of a much-loved community asset when we closed Dartmouth and Kingswear Community Hospital in March 2017.

I thought it may be helpful if I set out the context for that ­closure and the current position for health and social care in Dartmouth, along with our commitment for the future.

When we formed Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust in October 2015, we embarked on a new way of working, of fully integrating health and social care, and ­providing care as close to home as possible.

We wanted to reduce our reliance on hospital beds and invest in community services to support people to live well in their local communities.

While it was much loved by many, Dartmouth Hospital did not provide suitable facilities or accommodation for delivering modern-day healthcare. It would have required greater investment and refurbishment than we could provide to make it accessible and bring it up to standard. It was also out

of keeping with our aim to ­better support more people at home.

We invested significantly in intermediate care services, ­voluntary sector services and enhanced medical support, so that additional support was in place for Dartmouth residents before the hospital closed.

Since October 2016, in the Moor to Sea locality, which includes Dartmouth, we have seen more than 880 people referred in to our new intermediate care service.

For Dartmouth residents,

we have supported 66 short-

term placements with our ­intermediate care team, which have appropriately either avoided or reduced stays in hospital.

Our intention was, and remains, to create a new health and well-being centre for Dartmouth. Our preferred ­location was the River View Care Home. However, during the development of a business case, this became commercially unviable and, since then, the care home owners have announced their plans to close the care home.

We are working closely with Devon County Council to ­support the 22 residents and their families to find suitable alternative accommodation, and will continue helping them through the transition to their new homes.

While we are disappointed that we were not able to go ahead with the plans at River View, we remain committed to working with our health and care partners to bring about a joined-up health and well-being centre in Dartmouth.

As a first step, we are ­bringing together partners and commissioners to make sure we consider all options for ­providing the Dartmouth Health and Well-being Centre, so that as many people as ­possible access care, information and support when they need it.

We also plan to open these discussions up to the wider local community, and we are organising an event for this purpose in May.

We hope this will be an opportunity for us to consider together how we deliver a health and well-being centre that serves the people of Dartmouth and the surrounding area. We will share further details once they are confirmed.

Together, we want to make the right decisions to secure a future care service that people feel meets their needs and that they are proud to be a part of.

In the meantime, our committed teams of community staff are supporting people in their homes and local communities and Dartmouth Clinic continues to offer a wide range of health services and clinics.

Liz Davenport

interim chief executive,

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust