NHS boss: 'Torbay Hospital free of Covid patients'

Torbay Hospital

Torbay Hospital - Credit: Ed Oldfield

There were no patients with Covid in Torbay Hospital on Wednesday, April 14, councillors heard.

NHS trust chief executive Liz Davenport said it was working at 70 per cent capacity for planned care.

That was because the hospital had to keep Covid and non-Covid pathways open and continue with enhanced hygiene due to the pandemic.

Ms Davenport said there were plans to further increase planned care over the next three months, but the hospital was expecting to see more Covid-related activity.

The chief executive was giving an update about a memorandum of understanding between health trusts across Devon.

The trusts covering Torbay and South Devon, Exeter, and North Devon have created a strategic alliance.

Ms Davenport said the aim was to confirm arrangements about how hospitals were already working together.

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It was important to make best use of capacity to tackle the increased waiting lists caused by the pandemic.

Ms Davenport told Torbay Council’s overview and scrutiny board on Wednesday, April 14: “This is entirely about making the best use of our resources as we work together. There is no intent beyond that.”

She said the memorandum was about governance and transparency and was in line with national policy.

The chief executive said there were no plans to increase the number of patients being treated outside Torbay.

Ms Davenport said the trust had all four refurbished operating theatres working and the day theatre unit was also back in use.

She said the trust has been awarded funding to increase eye surgery which would help the 'substantial' number of people waiting for cataract treatment.

Work started in March on a new Acute Medicine Unit (AMU) at Torbay Hospital to reduce overcrowding in the emergency department.

The construction of a two-level centre is expected to take 12 months.

A £350million rebuilding programme has been announced for the hospital, which will involve a fundamental review of services. 

It is expected to result in a new smaller acute hospital for urgent cases and a separate unit for planned ‘elective’ care.

The planning process is expected to take until September 2023, when the full business case with final tender costs is due to be produced.