The chairman of health services campaign group has written to the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, to express concern about the healthcare in the town

Mike Mills, chair of the Dartmouth Health Care Action Group wrote to Simon Tapley from the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to express his “deep concern” about the healthcare provided in the town and surrounding villages as he and his wife grow older.

In the letter, Mr Mills described occasions when both his mother and father were receiving healthcare.

His mother broke her hip and after about a week in Torbay Hospital she was moved to Dartmouth Hospital as part of her recovery process.

She spent four weeks recovering and regaining her strength, confidence and partial mobility before moving her back home where a carer visited three times a day.

Mr Mills said over the next few months his mother regained a degree of independence, went to Day-care at the hospital once per week and attended the Dartmouth Caring lunches.

However, he said the caring regimes didn’t work well because the carers kept changing, regularly missed time slots and were often in a hurry to reach the next appointment.

His mother was then persuaded to go into a care home in Townstal Pathfields where she was very well cared for.

Mr Mills’ father suffered with emphysema and on his last visit to the consultant before he died, the medical professionals said he wouldn’t survive this time.

The campaign chairman said it would not have been “practical” for his father to die at home because he was steadily descending into a deeper comatose state and needed nursing care.

In the letter Mr Mills questioned the CCG’s new model of care which states it is better for people to be cared for at home.

The letter said: “I would be most interested to know how you would see these two scenarios being played out today in Dartmouth with your new model of care.

“While all the information provided by you says people prefer to be cared for and die at home, that is not my experience.

“It is a very difficult experience watching close family members die and to try and cope with it in a home situation with strangers, I do not believe is realistic in today’s society.

“I suggest you ask close relatives what they feel and believe about trying to care for loved ones at home, you might well get different answers.”

The letter was sent to Mr Tapley on Sunday, August 18.

In addition, the campaign group has been gathering stories from residents about the healthcare in the town.

On Monday, August 20, group volunteers were in Royal Avenue Gardens to speak to residents about the healthcare in the town since the closure of Dartmouth Hospital.

Group volunteers said they had heard lots of stories, particularly about elderly residents struggling on their own with a lack of healthcare and support.

The stories collected will be presented to Healthwatch Devon.

Further campaigning is planned for Dartmouth Regatta week. A protest against the closure of Dartmouth Hospital and the privatisation of the NHS is taking place on Wednesday, August 29.

The Women of Dartmouth and District Group has organised the march but anyone is welcome to join them.

It will commence at 2pm as a march leaving from Townstal Community Hall and then head down from the top of town, collecting more protestors along the way.

The group is encouraging people to wear red if possible.

In addition, the group will be at the hospital from 8am on Wednesday and has asked people to join them in sending the message that “we want our hospital services restored”.

A spokesman for the group said: “We have learnt that across the board the public and NHS staff want our hospital reopened.

“That our NHS staff have been gagged from speaking out and our oldest residents are being treated appallingly with many stories of very senior citizens being shipped out of town to unfamiliar places in isolation.

“These are very worrying times for many, but the fantastic support and encouragement from the public and protest groups shows that we can do great things when we all come together.” A healthcare campaign group is meeting with NHS bosses to put forward a care model proposal to get beds in the town.

Dartmouth Healthcare Action Group is meeting with the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust next month with a new proposal model of composite care to put aftercare and long term care beds in a new Health and Well Being centre in the town. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 4.

Another public meeting to discuss healthcare in the town is being held on Monday, September 10, in St Saviours Church at 7pm.

The campaign group chairman, Mike Mills also said a meeting is being planned with Devon County Council. He said the Trust and the county council would need to work together to make the plan work financially.

In addition, the action group is going to invite Healthwatch to do a session in the town and in Townstal to talk to people about healthcare in the town.

To keep up to date with the groups progress please visit the Dartmouth Healthcare Action Group Facebook page.