Cuts must be made – or hospital plan faces axe

PLANS FOR a new community hospital in Buxton are still on track it has been confirmed this week – but only if sacrifices are made elsewhere.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust have said they are continuing with proposals to redevelop health services in the town as part of the Healthy Buxton project and a new hospital was chosen as the most preferred option of three that were put forward to local residents.

But the trust have warned that with the NHS facing significant financial difficulties, funding the project will not be easy.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust said: “The ever-increasing regulation of safety, quality and patient experience means that the current facilities in Buxton will not be fit for purpose in the long-term. Doing nothing is not an option for Buxton’s community health services.

“It is acknowledged that the NHS is facing challenging financial times. In contrast, when the Healthy Buxton Project started, the NHS was enjoying year-on-year increases in funding.

“In order to find additional money to fund new schemes, including Healthy Buxton, sacrifices may have to be made elsewhere.

“We are currently reviewing our plans across all services to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality care for our patients, while getting the most from every pound spent. This review will be completed in early 2012.

“We are committed to delivering high quality, integrated services which are well co-ordinated between all providers involved. In the future we aim to provide these more in, or as near to, people’s homes as possible.”

As reported in the Buxton Advertiser earlier this year, a greenfield site at Foxlow Farm off the Ashbourne Road is the trust’s preferred option for the hospital with an outreach site at Buxton Medical Practice.

However, no specific decisions on the project have yet been made and further discussions will be taking place.

The development of the new hospital means a number of new services will be brought into Buxton, eliminating the need for many patients to leave the area for treatment.

The capital cost of the project to build a new site at Foxlow Farm and create an outreach site at Buxton Medical Practice is estimated to be around £31.5 million – though much of this is expected to be met from the sale of the existing sites at Buxton Hospital and Cavendish Hospital.

The trust are estimating a capital investment in addition to sale proceeds of around £1.6 million plus an net additional annual revenue requirement of £2.1 million a year from commissioners – for example, GPs buying its services on behalf of patients.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust is encouraging members of the public to have their say on its service development plans by responding to its consultation on becoming an NHS Foundation Trust.  More information is available at www.dchs.nhs.uk