NHS in Buxton has a ‘lifetime opportunity’

Site of the proposed new Buxton hospital
Site of the proposed new Buxton hospital

BUXTON’S planned new hospital will offer “the opportunity of a lifetime” to change the way health services are delivered in the town.

NHS Derbyshire County are planning 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.

Buxton Medical Practice

Buxton Medical Practice

It had been feared that the project could be scrapped because of the Government’s wide ranging funding cuts but the trust say the scheme is still going ahead with caution – though a warning has been issued that investment in this project may mean cuts elsewhere.

A greenfield site at Foxlow Farm off the Ashbourne Road is now the trust’s preferred option for the hospital with an outreach site at Buxton Medical Practice.

No specific decisions on the project have yet been made and further consultation with staff, patients and the public will now take place.

David Sharp, Chief Executive of NHS Derbyshire County, said: “The ever-increasing regulation of safety, quality and the patient experience mean that facilities in Buxton will not be fit for purpose in the long-term.

“Difficult decisions have to be made to ensure that we provide the best care possible, for everyone in Derbyshire, for every pound spent. We know that if we take no action this will lead to a combined deficit in funding of £245 million across all NHS organisations in Derbyshire between now and March 2014.

“In contrast, when the Healthy Buxton project was started the NHS was enjoying year-on-year increases in funding. So, there will now need to be a clear indication of how any additional money will be found to fund any new schemes, including Healthy Buxton.

“Sacrifices may have to be made elsewhere to enable it all to happen.

“The funding will also need to be found by the existing service providers which are Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) and the GP Practices and also the GPs responsible for commissioning those services in the future.

“The Boards have approved the move towards further discussions with staff and the public. But first there is work to do on further developing our proposals and understanding how the changing environment has affected the aims of the project.

“Following the Government’s announcement that GPs will lead commissioning in the future, clearly GPs can now have a clear choice conversation with their population on the future shape of services in the Buxton area.”

An NHS Derbyshire County report said: “This project aims to deliver more integrated working between primary care (GPs), community services (DCHS) and secondary care (Stockport and Chesterfield) with the chance to have more services in Buxton including more inpatient services (particularly for older people), outpatients services, diagnostics and day case surgery.”

Buxton Hospital currently provides a number of services including consultant outpatient clinics, podiatric surgery and urgent care while Cavendish Hospital provides after-surgery care, mainly for the elderly as well as services including rehabilitation and speech and language therapy.

But there will be a much wider range of services available at the new hospital including: children’s services; health visitors; school nurses; health promotion; community dental; endoscopy; inpatient beds; end-of-life care beds; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; older people’s mental health; learning disability services; stroke services; GP services; Minor Injuries Unit; maternity services; patient transport services and pharmacy and social services.

Services at the outreach site at Buxton Medical Practice will include: GP services; Derbyshire Mental Health Trust Services; contraception and sexual health services and flexible clinical rooms bookable for provision of outreach services. Outreach services at the Fairfield site will include: GP services; dental; maternity including baby weighing and bra fitting services; counselling; parent support groups; older people’s support sessions and nursery.

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.

An NHS Derbyshire County report said: “This project aims to deliver more integrated working between primary care (GPs), community services (DCHS) and secondary care (Stockport and Chesterfield) with the chance to have more services in Buxton including more inpatient services (particularly for older people), outpatients services, diagnostics and day case surgery.”

Buxton Hospital currently provides a number of services including consultant outpatient clinics, podiatric surgery and urgent care while Cavendish Hospital provides after-surgery care, mainly for the elderly as well as services including rehabilitation and speech and language therapy.

But there will be a much wider range of services available at the new hospital including: children’s services; health visitors; school nurses; health promotion; community dental; endoscopy; inpatient beds; end-of-life care beds; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; older people’s mental health; learning disability services; stroke services; GP services; Minor Injuries Unit; maternity services; patient transport services and pharmacy and social services.

Services at the outreach site at Buxton Medical Practice will include: GP services; Derbyshire Mental Health Trust Services; contraception and sexual health services and flexible clinical rooms bookable for provision of outreach services. Outreach services at the Fairfield site will include: GP services; dental; maternity including baby weighing and bra fitting services; counselling; parent support groups; older people’s support sessions and nursery.

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.

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 behlaf of patients..

An NHS Derbyshire County report on the project said: “This proposal is shown to provide the best value for money option. It is an exciting opportunity to provide the population of Buxton with state-of-the-art health facilities capable of delivering services in line with the very latest thinking on the provision of world-class healthcare in a local community, with the flexibility to further shape services to meet changing requirements into the future.

“It will facilitate the development of a holistic healthcare service focused around the patient.

“Through improved partnership arrangements between primary care, hospital staff, the local authority and voluntary sector workers, services will be provided through a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach – all with the aim of providing patient focused quality care.”

A site on Staden Lane which had previously been the preferred location was vetoed because of poor access to the rear of the site, the inability to provide good public transport and the lack of space for expansion.

High Peak Borough Council designated Foxlow Farm as development land and this then became the location preferred by the trust.

Studies have also shown that using Buxton Medical Practice for an outreach site rather than building a new facility on Market Street gave a better value for money scheme.

The other two medical practices in Buxton are not suitable as their current premises are below the recommended size, limiting their ability to offer patients many additional services. Fairfield Sure Start would also be used as an outreach site.

The Cavendish Hospital and the Buxton Hospital would be among at least five current sites in Buxton to be replaced by the new facility.

The other option was to merge the two community hospitals, Buxton Cottage Hospital and Cavendish Hospital, into one, including a new Minor Injuries Unit and an out-of-hours service with GP surgeries and Fairfield Sure Start services remaining separately.

More information on the Healthy Buxton project can be found at www.derbyshirecounty.nhs.uk.