The Spencer Ward at Buxton’s Cavendish Hospital will shut by the end of February - months earlier than planned - health chiefs have confirmed.
North Derbyshire and Hardwick clinical commissioning groups (CCG) originally voted in July to permanently close the Spencer Ward and reduce the number of beds on Fenton Ward in a controversial cost-cutting exercise aimed at reducing hospital admissions and providing more care for patients in their own homes.
A new system will see the on-call Dementia Rapid Response Team operating county-wide between 8am and 8pm, with acute admissions made to Chesterfield’s Walton Hospital.
The Spencer Ward, which looks after elderly patients with mental health problems, was scheduled to close in 2020. Last month health chiefs revealed this could happen as early as May next year, and yesterday (Wednesday) it was confirmed the timeline was being brought further forward.
A spokesperson for Better Care Closer to Home, which is behind the proposals, said: “We are committed to ensuring people do not experience any gap in service provision while we support the development of the DRRT and are very clear we must proactively plan to enable the team to be in place before the cessation of any existing service.
“It is likely many staff based on Spencer Ward will apply for, and be recruited to, new posts in the DRRT which we hope will be the case as our aim is to retain expertise and commitment in the area. We anticipate the closure of Spencer will take place during February 2018.”
The spokesperson added: “A stay in hospital can be very disruptive and confusing to someone with dementia and so by supporting a patient in their own home, the DRRT will enable them to continue with their normal routine as much as possible in an environment that is familiar, safe and comfortable. The DRRT will be made up of a range of specialist health and care staff.”
Better Care Closer to Home said in a statement: “We recognise this may be an unsettling time for staff and for families who have been used to us providing care in a particular way for a long period of time.
“However, we want to reiterate that staff and the care we provide to Derbyshire’s patients are, and will always be, the most important things to us.
“We are absolutely committed to retaining skilled staff and to providing excellent care as we look to provide more care at the right time and in the right place.”