LETTER: Cavendish Hospital - A second centre would help

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So the costs of operating the Cavendish Hospital are not as high as originally thought.

Would there then be enough money on the original budget to keep Spencer Ward open? How are we, as members of the public to judge? Or is it a matter of degree of commitment by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the needs of patients with dementia? In which case we all need to continue to press the case for Spencer Ward to remain open.

I will not rehearse all the arguments for the on-going need for some inpatient hospital beds for people with dementia at crisis point or in the latter stages. Even the Dementia Rapid Response team functions acknowledge a need for availability of inpatient hospital beds.

The principle need for ‘familiar faces, familiar places’ for patients at this stage cannot be delivered by one ‘centre of excellence’ at Walton Hospital, situated 24 miles away from New Mills, Hayfield, High Peak and Buxton.

A second ‘centre of excellence’ (already rated to be one) at Spencer Ward would ensure that the maximum distance from either would be within a 12 mile radius.

I am not totally unsympathetic to the proposed to provide support for patients in their own homes, but a ‘western hub’ based as an extended role for Spencer Ward as part of a dementia care pathway, beginning at the point of diagnosis would , I contend, result in joined-up patient care, using existing expertise to the full. Indeed, addressing the organisational needs efficiently may result in lower costs than the current Dementia Rapid Response team proposals.

Finance officers would be able to examine the feasibility.

Anyone who would like to see the western hub proposals (four pages, no glossy pictures) should contact me by email at Kandvhorncastle@gmail.com

One aspect which is often overlooked when a reorganisation is proposed, is the potential impact on staff morale. Staff are the most valuable resource in the NHS and, as a former carer, I would rate all those working in this field of dementia care as excellent in both expertise and commitment.

Staff affected by the proposals have already faced a period of uncertainty since June 29, and not the intended date for results to be known, the beginning of January, will be delayed by a further four weeks. When I asked a senior manager at a drop in consultation whether he had visited Spencer Ward to see for himself how it operated, and to talk to staff about its achievements, the response was in the negative.

When I trusted to accompany him to visit since he was already in Buxton, he indicated that he was already committed elsewhere.

This four week period should be a time to meet staff and to hear their views, since they will be the ones who will be expected to implement the outcome of the consultations.

It would also be an opportunity for manager(s) to show their appreciation of the contribution which staff have made to gain ‘Gold Star Quality Always’ status.

K. C. Horncastle

By Email