Local organisations could be contracted to deliver services at health hubs in local hospitals.
A plan to roll out health hubs across East Devon is currently in the embryonic stage.
Taking in Honiton, Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Axminster and Seaton, the hubs could one day be used to supplement existing NHS and voluntary services.
District and county councillor Phil Twiss told Honiton Town Council in a report that the hubs will fill gaps created by funding cuts. Cllr Twiss is also a governor of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.
He stated that services could move towards “health hubs that our communities want”.
However, he pointed out: “This is a major piece of work and ‘set to run’ on a long term, sustainable basis.”
Cllr Twiss said the project was taking a “from the bottom up” approach.
Health providers are working hard to mitigate the impact of funding cuts, first implemented as part of the Government’s austerity measures.
In Devon, the challenge is to maintain services to largely rural communities while improving levels of care.
Across England, the NHS spends more than £16 billion a year on drugs alone. Of that, around £9 billion is the result of GP prescribing and £7 billion from hospital treatment. Only half of the latter is directly reimbursed by NHS England’s specialised services budget.
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