Hundreds of people turned up at a public consultation to get answers as beds on the Spencer Ward and Fenton Ward at the Cavendish Hospital are under threat.
The new proposals want to introduce more care at home which experts believe would benefit the patient being in familiar surroundings and help with recovery. This would mean there would be less need for hospital wards to stay open.
The meeting on Tuesday in the Pavilion Gardens was a question and answer session to the panel.
Campaigner Keith Horncastle cared for his wife for six years after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He said: “The Spencer Ward has just won a ‘gold star award’ for the quality of the care it provides. The centre is already set up to help people and the staff are already in place, don’t close it down expand it to make it a staff training base and another centre of excellence for the west of the county.” Elderly mental health services would still be operating with beds at in Chesterfield and Bakewell however poor transport links were highlighted.
The panel noted that with reduced bedded care the travel would only impact on around 20 patients and Beverley Smith chief transformation officer for the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Travel is going to be difficult but we will resolve this for families, that is my promise to you.”
Speaking about the plans to introduce a Dementia Rapid Response Team instead of having patients in hospital one member of the public asked about provisions for night time care.
Mark Whittingham consultant physiatrist for NHS Trust North Derbyshire said: “It is very rare the crisis support team for elderly adults are called out after 8pm.”
However, Lauren Watson who is a staff nurse at the Spencer Ward and has dealing with acute care said: “In my experience patients with dementia who need help in the night will end up acute care at a hospital where they do not get the help or attention they deserve. If the wards shut this will put unnecessary strain on the service.”
MP Andrew Bingham said: “I came here looking for answers but I don’t feel I have gotten any. We are not here out of sentiment for the Cavendish but because there is a need for it.”
He questioned if this was a genuine consultation or a done deal to which Beverley Smith said: “We are listening and we are hearing and we want your views.”