Health service campaigners from Buxton have vowed to fight controversial new plans to reorganise the way healthcare is provided in the area.
Under the plans, the town’s Cavendish Hospital would lose its ten specialist mental health beds, resulting in the closure of the Spencer Ward. A number of community hospital beds would also be lost at the hospital, with others becoming specialist rehabilitation hospital beds.
The proposals, which have been put forward by ‘21C’ - a new partnership between the NHS, Derbyshire County Council and the voluntary sector - aim to reduce the need for hospital treatment by caring for older people in their own homes.
In a statement, NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Cavendish Hospital in Buxton currently has 16 community hospital beds and ten older people’s mental health beds.
“Under the proposals eight of the community hospital beds would undergo a change of use and become specialist rehabilitation hospital beds.
“These are designed for older people who are not well enough to go home following an illness or accident.
“Integrated Care at Home Teams and local Beds with Care in nursing or residential homes would replace the other eight.
“The older people’s mental health beds would be replaced with Dementia Rapid Response Teams whose function would be to support older people with dementia - in local settings in their own communities - and so the ward itself would close.
“Walton Hospital would cater for those with the severest dementia symptoms.”
Cavendish Hospital as a whole is not being reviewed as part of the consultation, and the proposals outlined for Cavendish as part of Better Care Closer to Home will not impact on Buxton Hospital or its Minor Injuries Unit, it was stated.
The older people’s mental health beds would be replaced with Dementia Rapid Response Teams whose function would be to support older people with dementia - in local settings in their own communities - and so the ward itself would close.Statement from NHS North Derbyshire CCG and NHS Hardwick CCG
A Facebook page, ‘Save Cavendish Hospital Wards’, has already been set up to encourage people to voice their concerns over the plans.
Local campaigner Keith Horncastle said: “We think that the removal of the Spencer Ward would be the wrong thing to do.
“When my wife was in the last year of her illness the ward allowed her a quality of life and gave me periods of respite from caring for her.
“ It has also just received a ‘gold star award’ for the quality of the care it provides.
“I would urge as many people as possible to attend the planned public meetings.”
A period of public consultation on the plans has already begun and will continue until Wednesday October 5.
As part of the Better Care Closer to Home consultation, public meetings will be taking place at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens on Tuesday July 12 and New Mills Town Hall on Thursday July 14, between 6pm and 8pm.
At the meeting, representatives from the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, the Derbyshire Health Services Foundation Trust and County Council Social Services will be present to outline their proposals and to speak to local community groups. Interested parties can call North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group on 01246 514176 to request copies of the consultation questionnaire. They can also find out more at www.joinedupcare.org.uk.
Speaking in favour of the plans, Dr Ben Milton, chairman of NHS North Derbyshire CCG and a GP at Darley Dale Medical Centre, said: “My patients often tell me that they don’t want to go into hospital and doctors now know that patients do better if they can avoid unnecessary hospital stays, which can lead to some older people never regaining their independence.
“Medicine has changed for the better over the years. This means much of the care traditionally provided in community hospitals is just as safe to give at home where many patients prefer to be.
“It means more older people can still receive the quality of care they need, from an expert team based in the community, without the strain of an unnecessary hospital admission.”