LETTER: Fenton Ward also needs support

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I write following the public consultation process, which was attended by more than 300 people, regarding the proposals ‘Better Care Closer to Home’ last week.

There was a great deal of emphasis on the closure of Spencer Ward, but I feel that the closure of beds on Fenton Ward is also very drastic and their support is equally as important, as they also offer “specialist care”, and I felt that this was slightly overlooked.

I recently had a loved one, who was fortunate enough (as were the family) to be able to access the services on Fenton Ward.

I feel that this ward’s criteria is not understood and possibly still looked on as the Cavendish Hospital of many years ago – simply a place of respite or convalescence.

It wasn’t until speaking with the staff that I found out that Fenton Ward also offer a wide and varied number of healthcare services to the whole community; such as specialist end of life care, acute step down care – this prevents patients requiring longer stays in the larger hospitals, urgent care, nursing with complex and chronic medical needs, patients who primarily have a diagnosis of dementia but require medical input for an episode of illness, and I believe a new specialist intravenous therapy service.

All these services are available to the whole community, and not only offered to the elderly/infirm.

The care is offered in a positive environment and delivered by a professional, compassionate and happy team, and is, in the words of Tim Oddy “Rolls Royce Standard”.

In my personal experience the team on Fenton Ward work towards a discharge as soon and safe as is appropriate and this prevents an unnecessary lengthy time in hospital for patients, and ensures the benefits of being able to return home.

It’s unfortunate that the lack of social care availability often prevents a patient’s discharge.

To reduce these beds and expect that ‘eight specialist rehabilitation beds’ will be sufficient with all the other closures of inpatient beds across North Derbyshire is an insult to our community and I am sure the hard working staff on Fenton Ward.

It appeared that they had the capacity for approximately 20 patients however many beds had been earmarked as closed. Why is this? As a lifelong resident in Buxton we have already suffered massive bed and ward closures at the Devonshire Hospital, the loss of Compton Ward (at the Cavendish) and Johnson Ward (at the Cottage Hospital).

Surely there is the need for these specialist services at our local community hospital, provided by the dedicated team on Fenton Ward?

From visiting the ward on many occasions it is apparent the changes made to become a ‘dementia friendly’ ward, along with the staffs’ participation in the planning and organising of many events and fund raising efforts to raise their profile are proof of their hard work and dedication to their patients and their families.

Well done Fenton Ward, keep up all the good work, and let’s continue to fight these appalling proposals.

Please sign their online petition at http://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/157285 and show your support.

James Wilson

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