Chairman’s Chat 2020

Just about everyone agrees that “prevention is better than cure”, and for many years now the NHS national plans include doing more to help people stay well for longer. That’s obviously better for us as individuals, and, perhaps less obviously, it’s also better for “the system” because, if demand keeps on growing every year, the queues at A&E soon will stretch all around the building and the workload for already hard-pressed Hospital clinicians and GPs is going to be impossible.

Not surprisingly, Ottery’s Coleridge GPs are leading the way. They are now working as part of a “Primary Care Network” covering Ottery, Honiton and Sidmouth, and that’s an exciting new development (as well as a rather less exciting new NHS abbreviation “PCN”!). It means our local services can still stay local, and at the same time support each other much more – our own Dr Graham Ward suggested some years ago that we could have a local network of specialist centres of excellence and expertise and, for instance, the award-winning Rowan and Linden Centres at Ottery could expand to share their skills and knowledge in
dementia care right across the network. Ottery Hospital, RDE’s community services and Coleridge GPs together make a powerful combination!

And as Friends, we’ve been changing the way we work, too. This year we’ve donated equipment specifically for use at Ottery Hospital and Coleridge Medical Centre, as we’ve done for decades now, but our most exciting developments have the potential to lead the way across the “PCN”. We’ll continue to fund a Hospiscare Clinical Nurse Specialist based at Ottery Hospital. We’re funding a brand-new “Admiral Nurse for Ottery” who’ll work closely alongside Honiton’s established Admiral Nurse to improve care for people with dementia and their
families. We’ve set up a bursary for young people from Ottery who want to have a career in medicine. And by the time you read this, we’ll have announced a major investment to help Hospiscare to extend their “@Home” end of life care service to people in and around Ottery (it’s already proven invaluable in Exmouth, Seaton and Budleigh Salterton).

Sadly, we still have the ridiculous situation that GPs and others using Ottery Hospital building to look after you and your family have to pay rent to NHS Property Services Ltd (a national policy condemned by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee) despite you and everyone who’s ever paid income tax or VAT already having bought and paid for the Hospital, but we’re still quietly working on that.

So I can end optimistically with sincere thanks and appreciation to all the Friends, to everyone whose kind support and generous donations have let us do so much this year, and to everyone who’s contributing to the wonderful healthcare we gain so much from. And I’m confident that next year that care will be even better.

With best wishes



Treasurer’s Topics 2018

We continue to be well placed financially to consider requests to meet the costs of providing equipment and facilities to support the health needs in our community. Since the loss of in-patient beds, there’s been a reduction in requests to help with the cost of new equipment. Nevertheless, during the year we have:-

  • provided £2,630 for a specialist chair
  • agreed £37,500 over three years, match funded with the Help Scheme, to establish ‘The Project’ in Ottery (see below)
  • subsidised the use of our Minibus (c £5,000).

A significant source of funds is from legacies for which we are most grateful. During the year we benefitted by over £88,000 from the estate of the late Ian William Moore.

The Project

The Project was established in Axminster in 2013 to provide non-clinical mental health support for young people and their parents/carers. The Ottery Help Scheme is keen for the service to be extended to Ottery and we have agreed with them to match fund the estimated set up and running costs for three years. The Ottery Project is supported by Coleridge Medical Centre and Kings School amongst others, and will be managed overall by Action East Devon, a local charity working with people, communities and organisations to create the services and support needed to live happier and healthier lives. The Help Scheme team and ourselves will maintain a close interest in the Ottery Project which is expected to be established by the end of May.

Anyone who might be interested in this new local service should contact the Help Scheme – 01404 813041 – where all enquiries will be dealt with in strict confidence.

Paul Ritchie

Hon. Treasurer


Rowan and Linden Report 2018

Rowan & Linden centre in Ottery St Mary provide specialist day care services for people living with dementia. Our prime focus is on supporting someone to live well with their condition and to maintain them safely at home. We offer support and respite to their carers whilst also offering social activity for the person who has dementia.

Whilst our speciality is in dementia care we offer support to people with other mental health changes caused by depression or anxiety and a cognitive decline related to those who are becoming socially isolated.


Rowan provides a 6 week NHS funded assessment of someone’s health.

We focus on:

• Cognitive assessment using a variety of formal and informal assessments

• Mood assessment – including screening for anxiety and depression

• Physical well-being including assessment of falls risk, poor mobility and nutritional risk

• Frailty Assessment – using a simple tool to be able to identify somebody who may be frail or at risk of becoming frail

• Carers assessment

These assessments then enable us to plan on-going support and care for the person and their carer. This may include linking them with other colleagues in the health and social care services – such as our community nursing colleagues and social services.

In the period of January- December 2017 we had 71 referrals into rowan. Of these referrals 34 people came in to complete the assessment.


Linden forms the on-going social day care of the service and runs Monday to Friday. As of the week ending 23rd February we have 52 people attending the Day centre, some of them more than once a week which equates to 75 attendances across the week.


Both the services run alongside each other and people are with us between 10 and 3 o’clock. Our days provide a variety of activities aimed at encouraging social interaction, stimulation, both mentally and physically, and creativity.

We have also recently started to introduce elements of Cognitive Stimulation therapy or CST to our service. CST is a NICE recognised therapy for people with dementia and is nationally and internationally used either alongside or instead of medications. Research has focused primarily on its benefits for people with early onset dementias, but it has also been recognised that people who have social stimulation and activity even as their dementia progresses can benefit from stimulation – if only offering them a sense of enjoyment and fulfilment.


I can now say in a report that we are almost fully staffed across both of the centres I manage. We have me as the Matron, 1 Occupational Therapist, 2 Mental Health Practitioners (who are actually also both Occupational therapists) and 9 Care Support Workers who work both here and at the Conybeare and Willow Centre in Axminster.

We have also recently started to have students appending placements with us and have had both student nurses and student Occupational therapists learning alongside us. it is good to know that we are starting to be able to have an influence on the future of health care staff.

Thank you

I would like to thank the League of Friends again for our Careflex chair which we are making good use of.

Thank you as always goes to the staff who work so hard to make our centre what it is; but also I must thank the people who attend with us, without their willingness to join in with the activities we offer it would be a very dull place to be.

Victoria Sadler, RN


Rowan and Linden Centre


Minibus 2018

Our minibus is based at the hospital and the vehicle and drivers are ably managed on our behalf by the Help Scheme to whom we pay a management fee. We continue to subsidise the use of the vehicle by charging a beneficial mileage rate for the local organisations and individuals who make good use of the minibus.

Users include Angela Court Care Home, Later Life Forum, Linden Day Centre, Live Strong Swimming Group, Low Vision Group, Methodist Church and Parish Church, Ottery Help Scheme, and the Rotary Club.

If other organisations are interested in using the minibus, please contact the Help Scheme on 01404 813041 where the office staff will be very happy to discuss requirements etc.


Membership Matters 2018


Membership Matters

The annual subscription is due on 1st April. It’s only £2, with an opportunity to add a voluntary donation, so I hope that all members will be happy to support the committee by renewing their membership.

A renewal form is enclosed and I look forward to receiving these by post, via the hospital, or at the AGM.

Please note: members who pay by standing order will not receive a renewal form with this newsletter. Your membership will automatically renew.

New members are always welcome. There’s much to do to ensure ‘our’ hospital building is used as much as possible with services to meet the health needs of our community and the more support we can generate, the greater the chances of our voice being heard to achieve positive outcomes.

Sue Ritchie

Membership Secretary


Hospital Use 2018


We are not aware of any plans to use the former wards, but in addition to the well-used Rowan and Linden Centre, there are numerous specialist clinics at the hospital including:-

AAA Screening

Adult Psycologist


Bladder and Bowel

Child and Adult Mental Health Services

Cardiac Rehab.

Child Health

Community Nurses – Leg Ulcers

Community Dietician

Drug and Alcohol Service


Functional Electrical Stimulation

Ear, Nose and Throat

Extended Scope Physio.

Eye Screening


Heart Failure

Medical / Elderly

General Medicine


Occ. Health



Parkinsons Nurse


Pulmonory Rehabilitation

Retinal Screening

Speech and language Therapy

School Nurse

Voluntary Nail Service


Chairman’s Chat 2018

It’s almost a year since we last got together at our AGM, and, looking back, it’s a year that seems to reflect the old Punch joke about the curate’s egg – “good in parts”! Your League’s been able to support the many services in “our” hospital once again, and our strong partnership with the Ottery Help Scheme has not only helped increase community use of our minibus, it’s been key in our support for bringing “The Project” to Ottery and so helping to improve mental healthcare services for our children and young people. Thanks to our Hospital Business Manager, we’ve overcome what could have been the somewhat ironic problem of not being able to hold our Committee meetings at our Hospital because the doors are now firmly locked at the end of the working day! We’ll soon have our very own website. And we started “Your Health Matters”, an initiative to bring together a list of all the health and wellbeing services being provided around our town and villages by all the local NHS and County Council.

The “good in parts”, though, is because despite having had meetings and discussions with RD&E’s Chief Executive and Directors, we’re still unsure exactly what’s being planned for the future of our Hospital building. There’s still a whole range of activities and services taking place there – don’t think it’s closed, it’s still a place of vibrantly busy healthcare – but at the time of writing (late February) the wards and several of their side-rooms are locked, empty and unused, and to me that’s a terrible waste of a valuable public-service asset. And I’m very concerned about suggestions that Ottery should adopt the “Budleigh” model, where NHS Property Services Ltd rents the Budleigh hospital building to a community interest limited company that in turn rents space in the Hospital to NHS and Council services and voluntary groups …. to me, all that “playing shops” simply introduces layer upon layer of wasteful costs and paperwork. Wouldn’t it be better and more efficient if the hospital building was run directly by the NHS as part of East Devon’s health and social services estate?

But I can end on some positive news. When we asked our Coleridge GPs what services they’d like to see improved and developed for our town and communities, their answer was quick and clear: children’s and young people’s mental healthcare, dementia care, and end-of-life care. So those will be our priorities for 2018/19 – as I said at the beginning, we’ve already made a start by supporting “The Project” to extend its services to Ottery from Chard and Axminster where it’s been running for some years now. And we’re looking at what additional dementia and end-of-life services are already proving effective in other parts of Devon, to see what might be transferable here and make a long-lasting difference. (We know, though, that whatever we support must complement statutory services and be something that’s not sustainable beyond its launch and early years.)

Last, but not least, we’re still fully committed to seeing “our” Hospital at the centre of services for everyone in our community, young, old and in-between, treating ill-health and promoting good health.

So there’ll be a lot to discuss in the coming year. Do please join – your view matters.

With best wishes