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Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre

Photo: Guest celebrating at the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre opening ceremony

Dartmouth’s brand new £5.4million Health and Wellbeing Centre was officially opened on 09 May 2023 by David Fursdon, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon.

Based at the top of town in Dartmouth next to the park and ride, the building gives local people access to a broad range of health and wellbeing services in one place, by bringing together GPs, community nurses, therapists, Dartmouth Caring and Wellbeing Pharmacy.

The opening ceremony marks the completion of the build which started in 2021.

The centre is part of plans across Devon to bring health and care services and the voluntary sector together to make it easier for people to receive the care they need, in their community. It also allows the clinicians and specialists involved in providing someone’s care to work closer together to provide seamless joined-up care.

The ceremony, hosted by chairman Sir Richard Ibbotson, was attended by David Fursdon, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, alongside representatives from the Town and District Councils, and a number of local groups including Dartmouth League of Friends, Dartmouth Medical Practice and its Patient Participation Group, Dartmouth Caring, and many more.

The building project has been led by Torbay and South Devon’s strategic estates partner – gbpartnerships – with the building work carried out by Westcountry building firm, Classic Builders, supported by a wide range of contractors, and our architects KTA.

gbpartnerships has been working with us through the SDH Innovations Partnership since 2021. This 50:50 Joint Venture Partnership is helping to solve local estates issues, enabling gbp to bring commercial acumen to the partnership and leverage investment.

Project milestones

Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre reaches its highest point

On 26 April 2022 we celebrated reaching the highest point in the construction of the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre with a Topping Out Ceremony.

Our Chairman, Sir Richard Ibbotson and Chief Executive Liz Davenport were joined by representatives of local staff, South Hams Council, Dartmouth Council, Dartmouth League of Friends, Dartmouth Caring, Dartmouth Medical Practice, Governors and the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to mark this achievement.

The development will provide a brand-new centre for community services alongside the GP practice, a pharmacy and voluntary services will open later this year.

Photo: Dartmoth Health and Wellbeing Centre building works

Those attending were able to have a tour around the building and were really impressed by the size and space the building offers.

Sir Richard Ibbotson Chairman for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust commented: “It is so good to see how far the development has come since building work started last summer. The health and wellbeing centre will be a fantastic facility for the people of Dartmouth and the surrounding communities. I was so pleased to have been joined by some of the people who have given so much time and energy into the making of this centre.”

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council’s Deputy Leader said: “I’m delighted that the project is nearing completion, so that this much needed facility can open and start to serve the good people of Dartmouth. I am proud that the Council stepped in to assist Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust when they needed our help, by providing land and funding to ensure that the Health Hub could become a reality.”

Dr Anthony Anderson Dartmouth Medical Practice said: “Having looked around, the building is impressive, particularly its size. We all look forward to moving to this modern, purpose-built building with space to increase our services, better working conditions for everyone, better patient access and ample parking. It’s been a long journey but we’re nearly there.”

Good public transport links as well as on-site parking – and the overflow parking for the park and ride is also being upgraded with new hardstanding parking spaces which will make the site even more accessible.

Former hospital site

Update on the sale of the former Dartmouth and Kingswear community hospital – May 2023

Further to the updates we have shared previously, we are putting the site of the former Dartmouth and Kingswear Community Hospital for sale on the open market. While the community bid to buy and redevelop the site may still be viable, it has been affected by significant delays in raising the requisite finance, which has not been achieved within the agreed timelines.

The former hospital site, which is no longer needed for healthcare, needs to be sold to help fund the recently opened £5.4million health and wellbeing centre at the top of the town. The new centre replaces the current GP facilities and Dartmouth Clinic and includes space for community nurses, therapists, social care workers, as well as Dartmouth Caring and a pharmacy and supports a much more joined-up approach to health and wellbeing services for local people in state-of-the-art, purpose-designed facilities.

Sir Richard Ibbotson, Chairman, said: “We recognise that the former hospital has been a focal point within the town for many years. We now need to dispose of the hospital site and are hopeful that a viable bid will come forward through the open market. Importantly, this does not preclude the sale to Dartmouth Town Council, which remains a unique and innovative community bid.”

Liz Davenport, Chief Executive, added: “We would like to thank Dartmouth Town Council for working with us over the past eighteen months to explore the viability of a community bid. We have always been clear that if a community bid proved to be impossible we would move to selling the site on the open market, in line with the NHS Estate Code.

Cllr Ged Yardy, Dartmouth Town Council, said: “Following the turmoil in the financial markets in late 2022, we became aware of changing circumstances of our development partner, who has been working diligently to secure alternative sources of funding, but has been unable to do so thus far. Therefore, we respect the Trust’s need to offer the site to the open market, but will continue to work closely with the Trust to either acquire the site or ensure the Dartmouth community still receives its fair social value from the sale. I wish to thank everyone involved for their efforts to make this work.”

Disposal of the former hospital site FAQs

Discussions for an agreement for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust to sell the former Dartmouth and Kingswear Community Hospital site to Dartmouth Town Council are currently taking place.

At this stage, while negotiations continue, we cannot confirm what the site will be used for. We can say that it will be a commercial venture that will bring in jobs and income to Dartmouth. It will also bring in revenue to the site owners, Dartmouth Town Council, that will support affordable housing for those in need, something, in the recent survey, local people said they wanted.

We will be able to provide more detail later but we can say that Dartmouth Town Council approached a number of housing providers who did not think that they could provide a viable solution on the site itself. This has meant DTC have had to look at a more innovative and viable approach where revenue from the site can support the provision of affordable housing for the town.

Discussions are still ongoing so this cannot be answered at the moment. Once the deal is concluded there will be a point where the information is in the public domain and can be shared.

Dartmouth Town Council. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust are selling the site to Dartmouth Town Council which means they will be the owners for the site on behalf of Dartmouth.

The intention is that the façade of the original part of the building will be retained as part of the new development. This will mean the new design will incorporate the original building within it.

Seeking local people’s views

Healthwatch ran a survey for us from 8 November to 10 December 2021, asking local people what new facilities they would like to see. The full results of the survey are available on the Healthwatch Devon and Healthwatch Torbay websites.

For full details, see our news release.