Dartmouth Area Healthcare Action Group

The formation of this group began when the Torbay Health trust closed the Dartmouth Cottage Hospital before finding an alternative location to serve Dartmouth’s healthcare needs. After their negotiations with the owners of River-View, a private care facility, collapsed Dartmouth was left without suitable healthcare facilities, including sufficient beds to meet the needs of the community

Chaired by Michael Mills this group is campaigning on behalf of the people of Dartmouth to secure adequate healthcare services and beds for, what is effectively, an isolated community, surrounded by the river Dart.

This website will keep the community informed on progress with our negotiations. We will publish news here:


15th April 2020

Mike Mills comments on the proposals to open the River-view Care Home early to make beds available for the overflow from Torbay Hospital during the Coronavirus crisis. Read Mikes comments here:

Note also that Mike Mills will be interviewed on Devon Radio tomorrow morning at 7 10am (16th April 2020)

My comments are as follows;

Please see below a press release from Devon County Council regarding Fleet Care Home previously known as Riverview.

Our M.P. and County Councillor seem to be excited by this development as if it overcomes the community concern over the loss of our healthcare facilities with the closure of our Hospital. What it is , is a temporary facility to release beds in the main hospitals for use by patients with the corona virus, and is of course a sensible action as part of the national effort to deal with the pandemic.

I did a straw poll a few weeks ago asking if there was an appetite in the community to pull together to reopen our Hospital to accommodate non virus patients, thus releasing capacity in the main hospital. I estimated that 40+ beds could be provided. The response was that healthcare professionals and others were keen to help. Additionally builders were willing to give time to undertake necessary repairs to get the building in a useable condition. I put this idea to  Councillor Yardy our local Councillor with the Healthcare brief, to develop into a proposal to be put to the Torbay NHS Trust, who showed no interest. I also emailed our M.P. Anthony Mangnall to get his support, who text to say he had read my email.

I have been invited to be interviewed on BBC Radio Devon tomorrow morning at 7.10 to give a view about this announcement. There will be a follow up interview at 8.10 with a spokesperson from the NHS or Devon County , to comment on my views. I hope you will listen. In any case let me know your views .

Best wishes


Here is the press release from Devon County Council (note the River-view Care Home is now known as the Fleet Care Home)

15 Apr 2020
Dartmouth care home reopens to take patients discharged from hospitals
The Fleet care home in Dartmouth, formerly known as the Riverview, is the latest facility to be used to help relieve pressure on Devon’s NHS hospitals.

The former care home was going to reopen later in the year to provide nursing care in the local community, but the decision to open it immediately, and with potentially more bed capacity, was escalated by Devon County Council as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Hospitals are ensuring that only patients who need their specialist care remain in hospital, and that anyone no longer requiring it is discharged safely so that hospitals have more capacity to deal with people who are acutely unwell including coronavirus cases.

Devon County Council is making sure that there are sufficient places for people to move to out of hospital. Most return home, but some people require more support until they are a bit better. Residential and nursing homes, which might otherwise be an option for them, are also under a lot of pressure to meet demand.

So the Council is working with organisations that have accommodation with a view to these places being used temporarily by people when they can leave hospital.

The Fleet Care Home in Dartmouth was going to open this year with 14 nursing care beds, but it will now open imminently with the potential to increase capacity by an extra 24 beds temporarily for people being discharged from hospital or moving in from home due to ill-health.

The Council is also in discussion with a hotel owner in Bideford about opening up similar accommodation for discharged patients.

Alongside the potential Bideford facility, and the Hilton Hotel at Exeter Airport, which is already taking people discharged from hospital, the three facilities would provide an extra 200 beds, staffed by trained and experienced health and care professionals.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care, said:

“These will be for people who do not need to be in acute hospitals, but who require extra care before returning home or until residential or nursing places can be found for them. They can also be used by people with care needs who have been living at home, but who can no longer do so – if their carer becomes unwell, for example. We are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure that people in Devon continue to receive the care and support they need.”

Lee Baxter, Associate Director at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are working in partnership with all providers to ensure we can deliver the best possible care during the pandemic. As a key part of this we are working closely with Devon County Council to ensure we have facilities and accommodation available to keep NHS beds available for those who may need them at this time. We are very pleased to be working with Fleet as part of this approach.”

Anthony Mangnall, MP for the Totnes constituency, which includes Dartmouth, has welcomed the decision to bring forward the reopening of The Fleet, following several months of discussions and meetings. He said:

“I am delighted to hear that The Fleet will be reopening this week.

“Dartmouth’s healthcare services have been of huge importance to me and I raised this issue with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, when he visited in late 2019.

“Ensuring that Dartmouth is not cut off when it comes to its healthcare provisions has been a top priority and I am pleased with today’s announcement.

“I have been working with Devon County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that residents not only have reassurance when it comes to their healthcare services but that access across rural and urban areas is as comprehensive as possible.

“I will continue to work with local and national groups to maintain these provisions as we tackle COVID-19.”

Councillor Jonathan Hawkins, Devon County Council’s local Member for Dartmouth, said:

“I am very pleased that this building is being bought back into use and that it is going to be a nursing home that
Dartmouth and the surrounding parishes have been calling for a nursing home for many years so this is very welcome.”

Melody Walters, Regional Manager for Care Concern Group, who own the Fleet said.

“The team has worked tremendously hard to bring the opening of the home forward, they all feel very proud to be helping the local community during these trying times, and are looking forward to providing the new residents with a caring and luxurious environment.”

Contact Information

Mike Bomford
Devon County Council
01392 382173
07970 950064


11th March 2020

Here is the latest video from Mike Mills, Chairman:


2nd March 2020

There has been an exchange of emails between Mike Mills and Nick Hindmarsh in response to the request by Mike for an Extraordinary General Meeting of the PPG.

To read the exchange please see the March 2020 report page here


19th February 2020

 ‘Please see below the self-explanatory reply from the Patients Participation Group Secretary. His first statement is incorrect in that it was not a request from me but from 150+ members of our community who signed our petition. The question we need to ask ourselves is, ‘ are we happy that a small number of un-elected people speak on our behalf about our healthcare needs with the established authorities without consulting with us?

Please let me know your thoughts. ‘

Best wishes

Michael Mills

This is the content of the email I received from Nick Hindmarsh of the PPG:

From: Nick Hindmarsh <Nick.Hindmarsh@dartmouthcaring.co.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:46 AM
To: Mike Mills <mike@angloaustraliantrading.com>
Cc: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: PPG discussion of your letter

Dear Mike

The PPG discussed your request to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting.

The decision of the meeting last week was that there would be no EGM, indeed there is no provision in the either the current or previous iteration of the constitution, for this to take place.

The PPG have agreed that Dave Cawley and Ged Yardy will review the constitution, again, prior to the next AGM so any changes proposed may be considered in a timely and appropriate manner.  In doing so they will take into account your comments.

When you see the minutes, which will shortly be available on the website and Facebook page you will see the meeting also clarified the purpose of the PPG, which is summarised below.

It was agreed that the purpose of the PPG primarily is to improve communication around health issues for patients and DMP.

  • Collaborate with DMP  in securing the views of patients on care provided by the practice
  • Identify areas where care provision might be improved and expanded and work with the DMP to address these areas
  • Support  DMP share with the community their issues and news

Contribute to wider discussions concerning health and social care  provision to patients of the DMP f discussing health for patients in Dartmouth and surrounding villages.

The PPG is not a public body, not a pressure group and not political.  It works on the principle of consent between the group and DMP.  It has no managerial role in the running of the practice and is run in partnership with the practice, not imposed on the practice.

Kind regards

Nick Hindmarsh

Secretary – Dart Patients PPG

This message may contain confidential information.  
Please do not disclose, copy or distribute information in this e-mail unless you have the authority to do so. To do so is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. Thank you for your co-operation.  If you are not the intended recipient please inform the sender that you have received the message in error before deleting it.


14th February 2020

Linda Goss responds to criticism of Mike Mills letter to the Torbay NHS Trust from Steve Smith:

From: Linda Goss <linda@linda-goss.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:00 PM
To: Mike Mills <mike@angloaustraliantrading.com>
Subject: Response to Steve Smith from me…

Steve, I will not stand for the misrepresentation of Mike Mills efforts – on the  behalf of the own – to get the medical and health requirements of Dartmouth properly addressed.

His stance has not come lightly – it comes from a place of lengthy and very intelligent enquiry into what has happened to our healthcare these last years. So many people in the town have no idea of what Dartmouth’s PPG actually is. What it stands for.  What it does.

( Patients Participation Group – a supposed liaison between the doctors practice and ALL the towns patients)

Many don’t even know who the Chairman is – or many of the other names on their “committee”. Who are the people that have been on the committee since it’s inception?

Who are the people that have been welcomed as “stakeholders” and have become the town’s representatives in the vital discussions with the CCG / Trust, that has so negatively affected our town?

They, in supposedly representing the town, have wholeheartedly, endorsed the plans of the CCG/Trust to close our hospital, and as a consequence, lose the services our town has depended on for generations.

Dartmouth Area Healthcare Action Group – DAHAG – of which Mike is the chairman – has been ruthlessly swept aside in all the discussions about the future of our healthcare. This followed the premature closure of our hospital and the dismal fiasco surrounding the ridiculously expensive Riverview “solution”, preferred initially,  by the Trust ……..

None of the Maths has ever added up! 

To  close a hospital building – that the town originally bought and owns  in every sense of the word – and then buy a building – Riverview – for MILLIONS – as a suitable replacement – situated in a very strange position, with inadequate parking and no real advantages over what we already had, as a building to house LESS care than we had before.

We had tried, vehemently, to encourage discussion of what could be done – much less expensively – with our existing hospital site. 

We made extensive investigations into all the ways to transform our hospital into a modern medical facility, innately suitable for this town – there was enough space to  encompass all the towns needs, while maintaining its position and poignancy at the heart of this town. 

Together with DARTMOUTH Clinic – underused for over 35 years – we could have resolved the disgraceful crisis we have had to endure these last few years.

(It would have been completed by now – at a much lesser cost, with no negative impact on the towns greater infrastructure that taking these reduced facilities out of town will inevitably make).

Should the promised new build go ahead, our economy – businesses and townsfolk – will suffer and, for me, the heart of our town will be removed. And don’t forget – this new build will NOT include nursing beds (ie medically supervised beds), MIU, X-ray facilities, day care….

They persist in telling us that two beds in a care home will suffice.. Any fool knows it will not..

Now we are having to face this much heralded new build on the park and ride as a suitable replacement for our hospital. This new build is NOT an adequate replacement for our previous health facilities. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It will not cover the evident needs of this very isolated town.

Cost – 4.5 million – at the very least. Which we will be paying for –  for how many years?!

A very convoluted, dubious deal, involving loans from one quarter and repayments to another quarter- where both bodies gain, apparently, and it will be all funded by us – the people of Dartmouth!      For a very long time…..

So the PPG, the League of Friends, Dartmouth Caring – all “stakeholders” that gave credence to the Trust and its plans  by voting wholeheartedly for this new build.

( While this may break my “flow”, I must point out that some of the members of these three organisations are on two or more of these self same groups… how can this been deemed as healthy?   More than slight conflict of interest!

I don’t believe this should ever be allowed – giving, even in a small town, “powers” to a handful of ambitious people?!     What sort of madness is that?)

Above all, they all flew confidently in the face of all those Dartmouth people that spoke so loudly and clearly in St Saviours Church, in May 2018.

The people have spoken and have been systematically ignored from the outset.

It continues to be an ongoing disgrace and a sad missed opportunity.

One which I cannot accept.

12th February 2020

Letter sent by Mike Mills to the Torbay and South Devon NHS Health Trust.

Mike Mills has today sent this letter to the Trust asking them to assist in re-establishing the PPG as a legitimate representative of the Dartmouth communities healthcare interests.:

26th January 2020

Mike Mills Chairman

Message from Mike Mills Chairman DAHAG

There have been two interesting new developments which have relevance to the Dartmouth Healthcare campaign.




Seaton has developed a business plan to reinstate their 15 hospital beds

Involving their hospital trust, CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group ) and local council. Dartmouth could learn from their success to reinstate our hospital beds and MIU in Dartmouth. You can read more about this on our January 2020 report page here:

Letter/Petition requesting the Patients Participation Group Chair to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to enable the whole community to have a say in their healthcar

Letter/Petition requesting the Patients Participation Group Chair to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to enable the whole community to have a say in their healthcare. Again you can read more about this on the January 2020 report page.

9th January 2020

Mike Mills, Chairman of DAHAG has published a video update which you can view below:


15th December 2019 – Plans for the new Health and Wellbeing Center are released

4th December 2019 – Mike Mills video update on progress with campaign

This is Mike Mills latest update video on progress with the DAHAG campaign:


15th November 2019 – Chairman Mike Mills writes to the Dartmouth Chronicle

Mike Mills wrote the following letter to the Dartmouth Chronicle and it was published last week on the 15th November.

  Victoria Road
                                                                                                                          Dartmouth TQ6 9EL

   Dear Editor,

                    The PPG (Patients’ Participation Group) held its re-scheduled annual meeting last week. Many in our community are unaware of the existence of this group and how it influences the healthcare services we receive. Many residents would have liked to have attended the meeting but, due to short notice, were not able to.

                     PPG’s are often described as a ‘critical friend’ to the Practice, by helping it appreciate and understand what patients are thinking and saying about issues, such as, opening hours, telephone systems, requests for home visits, delays getting appointments, seeing their preferred G.P., seeing their preferred practice nurse, repeat prescriptions and the range and types of service provided as well as the level of delivery within the practice.

                     We, as patients registered with the Dartmouth Practice, are automatically members of the PPG and thus any elected officials are accountable to us. At the Annual Members’ Meeting last week, the Chairman and Head of Practice refused to discuss and put to a vote for adoption, a revised Constitution, produced by the Chairman and Head of Practice. This shows a disregard for the views of patients and thus questions the interest that maybe shown in the issues outlined in the previous paragraph. Some may ask, is it important to be concerned about a Constitution?  I suggest it is in this case, given the nature of the changes and the fact they were introduced without any reference to members. 

                     As the PPG maybe little known about by a large part of the community, it is probably, equally, not appreciated the role it played in the closure of our Hospital and loss of beds, MIU (Minor Injuries Unit), X-ray facility, and day care centre. The PPG were very involved in the consultation process conducted by the NHS Trust regarding the Hospital closure but never effectively sought the views of the community.  They imposed the views of a minority elite and continue to do so, acquiescing to the NHS Trust views.

                  I believe our health is the most important factor in our lives, and the healthcare services in our community are paramount.   Thus, the voices of all sections of our town, young and old, should be heard and represented in the appropriate quarters by the PPG.

                  I hope this letter will stimulate interest in the activity of the PPG.  If not, then we have no reason to complain about the loss of vital services like our Community Hospital.   

                                                                                Michael Mills    11.11.19



This is the content of an email sent by Mike Mills to Pierre Landell-Mills:

Subject: RE: Re PPG Annual Members Meeting

Dear Pierre/Andrew

                                       I am writing as a member of the PPG to express my deep concern that you both have arbitrarily changed the PPG Constitution and Terms of Reference without minuted discussion in the PPG Committee and approval of the members at a full AGM or EGM. The nature of your proposed changes are fundamental ,given they relate to Election of Officers, Committee Membership, and Members discipline. This is a major breach of Constitutional procedures. You are clearly not proposing to discuss these changes with the members as this issue is not on the Agenda. With regard to the current Constitution there are ambiguities and omissions which should also be rectified .

                                    I note your point about notification of the re-scheduled meeting , however your main channel of communication being the website , the notification should have been on there at least 7 days before the meeting.

                                    In order to get these constitutional matters resolved and provide members the opportunity to make a contribution, I suggest the following:

  1. Highlight through appropriate channels to all members the need to update/amend the PPG Constitution spelling out the proposed changes, and offering the opportunity to comment and/or offer appropriate amendments.
  2. Table the proposed amendments and other member comments at the next PPG Committee meeting for development of a recommendation to the members.
  3. Call an EGM at the earliest opportunity for ratification.

Best wishes                                                                                                                                                                        Mike


This note has been posted on the PPG website:



The PPG is sorry to have to cancel the Dart Patients annual members meeting at short notice owing to the last-minute unavailability of two key speakers. Most importantly Dr Eynon Lewis has been called to an urgent meeting in London related to his training responsibilities as Head of Primary and Community Care Education at Plymouth University and cannot attend our meeting. There is no point in holding our AMM without the GP partner who works with the PPG being present.

In addition, the decision by NHS Torbay and South Devon Hospital Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group to disband the Health and Wellbeing Working Group has been a huge disappointment. Part of our AMM was to be used to discuss progress on the Health and Wellbeing Centre project.  The PPG are now waiting for the Trust and CCG to clarify how we move forward. We feel that this issue should be resolved before our AMM takes place. Holding our AMM, without clarity on next steps, will not allow for a productive discussion. The new date for the AMM will be announced when this matter has been resolved, hopefully in the near future.

17/08/2019   –  report on beds available from Beacon Court

Please see below a copy report of a visit to Beacon Court  undertaken by a retired NHS professional. I believe we have been further misled as these beds are not dedicated to Dartmouth patients and thus could be used by people outside Dartmouth and our residents would have to go elsewhere as they are. It is also notable that there is no segregation between patients with dementia and those without .I know from my own experience with my Mother that she found it disturbing being mixed with people with dementia problems.

Mike Mills

Chairman DAHAG

Click below to download the report:

27/07/2019  –   Press release from the NHS Trust and CCG

The NHS Trust in conjunction with the CCG and SHDC have issued a press release regarding the provision of our new Health and Wellbeing center in the Park and Ride overflow car park. Read the release here


Mike Mills interviewed on BBC Spotlight: 25/07/2019

Mike Mills was interviewed on BBC Spotlight on the 25th July 2019. He gave the opinion of the DAHAG group to the proposed development of a Health and Wellbeing center on the current overflow car park in Dartmouth. Click to see Spotlight video with Mike’s interview about 13 minutes in:



23/06/2019 Latest update video from Mike Mills our Chairman:


22/06/2019 New press release from the NHS Trust:  Click image below to download file.

20/06/2019  Mike Mills on Radio Devon

Mike Mills, Chairman of DAHAG   was invited and commented on BBC Radio Devon yesterday Thursday at 8.20 , to hear the interview click below and move forward to 2hr 18mins and 40 seconds

Kings Fund Report on Beds in the NHS

03 – 04 – 2019

DAHAG Chairman Mike Mills responds to Sarah Wollaston MP after a phone conversation

13 – 3 2019

Understanding beds in Health and Social Care

A presentation by Lee Baxter November 2018

To download this power point presentation click on the title page below:

8 – 3 – 2019

For your information – the next meeting of the Dartmouth Healthcare Action Group will take place at the Guildhall, Council chamber – 0900 on Monday18 March 2019

27 – 2 – 2019

Public Meeting
There is a public meeting on Friday 1 st March in the Guildhall
Between 2p.m. and 5 p.m. where the following members of
the South West Ambulance Service Trust will be in attendance to answer the communities’s questions about the

Jessica Cunningham Director of Ops

Kevin McSherry County Commander South &amp;
West Devon

David Harper Deputy Commander



20th February – Huffington Post leads on the closure of Cottage Hospitals including Dartmouth

29 January 2019   Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre Working Group   –    Draft Minutes

29-1-2019  Letters and Responses from Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

See an extract from Dr Wollaston’s website including her letter to the Torbay CCG and their response in January reports.


2-1-2019   Notes from the last meeting with NHS SOUTH DEVON AND TORBAY CCG

Dear all

Please find attached the notes for the last meeting.

Best wishes and Happy Christmas

Jenny Turner

Head of Integrated Care South, South Devon and Torbay and NEW Devon CCGs

Pomana House, Oak View Close, Torquay, TQ2 7FF

Tel: 01803 396421

20-12-2018 A reply to our letter to the Secretary of State for Health: can be seen in December Reports


Latest video report from Mike Mills Chairman DAHAG  18-12-2018   See December reports

Radio Devon interview with Lesley Darke Director of estates at the Torbay Health Trust – see December reports


6-12-2018        Email exchange between Mike Mills and Pierre Landell-Mills   –  see December report


5-12-2018       To see email sent today from Mike Mills to Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust see December reports


13-11-2018    Our letter to The Right Honourable Matt Hancock M.P. , Secretary of State for Health and Social Care sent on the  13th November 2018 is available under November reports.


An exchange of emails between DAHAG Chairman Mike Mills and the Torbay NHS Trust has now been moved to November reports on this website:

Note these emails have been redacted to remove email addresses.


To subscribe to our DAHAG e-newsletter click here:



Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton