Reopening Dartmouth and Kings­wear Hospital is not an option, according Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust, which will be taking part in a public meeting on Monday to discuss options for health care in the town, said this week: “In the past two years we have been working hard to shape services in Torbay and South Devon, including Dartmouth and the surrounding villages, to meet the needs of the modern NHS.

“We are integrating health and social care and focussing on the whole person, rather than just their medical condition.

“Our staff work much more closely with GPs, pharmacists and the voluntary sector to provide tailored packages of health and social care in people’s homes and communities, so that we only care for people in hospital when that is the best place for them to be.

“This means we no longer need some of our smaller, cottage hospitals and the trust is not considering reopening Dartmouth hospital.”

The public meeting, being held at St Saviour’s Church, will give residents the opportunity to express their views and ask questions of the trust, either at the meeting itself at 7pm or during a drop-in session from 1pm-5pm.

Liz Davenport, the interim chief executive of the trust, said: “In Dartmouth, we now have additional community nursing and therapy support in place, as well as better access to pharmacists, equipment and reablement teams and these services are working really well. 

“We also provide more local clinics at Dartmouth Clinic, so that the services people use frequently, are close by and easy to get to. 

“The pieces of the puzzle that we are still working on are: developing a new health and well-being centre for the town, and commissioning nursing beds.

“The loss of River View care home was a real blow for local people and for our plans to co-locate health and well-being services there. We recognise that this is really disappointing for local people, and for those who have been working so hard to make it happen.

“However, we remain absolutely committed to delivering our vision, and welcome the opportunity to meet with local people on Monday to answer their questions, to share the progress we have made in Dartmouth and to discuss our plans for the future.” 

Meanwhile, MP Dr Sarah Wollaston has said she is “really sorry” to be missing the public meeting because it is being held on a day when the MP has a long-standing commitment to chair a Health and Social Care Select Committee visit.

“I completely understand the sense of anger that community beds have been lost and especially as the closure of Dartmouth hospital has now been followed by the loss of nursing and residential care beds at River View.”

She said it was “incredibly disappointing” that the company that owns the freehold at River View had not accepted the offer that was made. However, she highlighted that the meeting in Dartmouth would be an opportunity for local people to “hear directly from and to question the local health trust”.

She added: “It is vital that plans are not abandoned and that local people have a say in the options for future sites and what should be included.

“I hope there will also be an update about the capacity of community care in Dartmouth, including the number of residents being supported at home and of carers providing that support and where, if and when residential community beds are needed, these are being provided.

“I continue to speak regularly to the trust and to press for funding to remain available and for local people to be kept involved and informed on their future plans.

“I am very sorry not to be able to attend the public meeting with the trust on Monday, but will be arranging a date with [town councillor] Steve Smith to come to Townstal on another occasion for a general public meeting.”

Over recent years, there have been many changes to the health care available for residents in the town, impacted by the closure of the hospital and the failure of negotiations at the River View care home.

Historically, there has been a hospital in the town since 1887, opened in Bayard’s Cove firstly, before it was moved to South Embankment, where it stands today.

The hospital earned a very good reputation and was a service greatly appreciated by many residents in the community, in Dartmouth and the surrounding villages.

However, in January last year, the Torbay and South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group announced that four community hospitals, including Dartmouth, would close. The decision was voted for to switch resources from hospital bed-based care to community-based care to improve health services and meet increasing demand.

In March 2017, it was announced by the CCG that the hospital would stop admitting new patients on March 13, because the group said it was satisfied new services were in place.

Prior to this, a 12-week consultation had been organised to look into the future of community health services in south Devon and Torbay.

A proposal was put forward to move all health services in the town to a single site in Townstal, at the River View nursing home. Doctors, the outpatient clinic and Dartmouth Caring were all scheduled to move to Townstal where six hospital beds and a care home would be managed.

Much to the disappointment of residents, negotiations collapsed after the NHS trust failed to secure a lease on the property.

In a statement released in January this year, trust chief executive Mairead McAlinden said: “Following many months of planning and negotiation, the trust has been unable to agree with the owner of River View a reasonable price for its lease for the development of the health and well-being centre in Dartmouth. However, work is already under way to identify an alternative solution.

“Plans to locate the new centre at River View in Dartmouth cannot now proceed following the rejection by the building’s owners of an offer of £225,000 per year for a 35-year lease of the building, amounting to almost £8m over the life of the lease.”

Monday’s public meeting will offer residents a chance to question the trust. In addition, a drop-in session running from 1pm-5pm will be held at the church. The two sessions will provide of time to ask questions and hear the latest news about plans for a health and wellbeing centre in the town.

Simon Tapley, chief operating officer of the clinical commissioning group, and representatives from the NHS trust, including Liz Davenport, interim chief executive; Lesley Darke, director of estates; Dawn Butler, deputy director of strategy and improvement and Lee Baxter, assistant director community health and social care services southern, will be among those attending.