High Peak councillors have their say on controversial hospital plans

Cavendish Hospital, Buxton
Cavendish Hospital, Buxton

Controversial changes to healthcare - which would result in the closure of the Spencer Ward at Buxton’s Cavendish Hospital - have been discussed by High Peak borough councillors.

Health chiefs involved in the Better Care Closer to Home project attended a recent select committee meeting where they gave a presentation to councillors about the plans. If approved, the proposals would result in the Cavendish Hospital losing its ten specialist mental health beds on the Spencer Ward, with care instead provided through a Dementia Rapid Response Team (DRRT) on call county-wide.

Eight community hospital beds on the Fenton Ward would become specialist rehabilitation beds and across the county there would be 44 Beds with Care in nursing or residential homes to replace the other eight.

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Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Councillor Stewart Young, said: “I feel it was a positive meeting and the people who are putting forward these ideas are starting to see just how much losing the services will impact in the area.”

At the meeting, every councillor asked a question and the main issues were based on the lack of night cover with the Dementia Rapid Response Team that could be introduced, and sending vulnerable people to Chesterfield when there is a functioning service in Buxton.

Cllr Young said that while closing the wards and moving patients with dementia to Chesterfield was an option, Beverley Smith, chief transformation officer for the North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said they were open to discuss other ideas.

She said: “We have a very unique topography in North Derbyshire, so while having a team to be on call should a patient require them may work in the south of the county, here people live in a much more rural environment and it wouldn’t be suitable for our patients.”

Beds with Care is a scheme that could be introduced and would provide respite cover around the county. However, councillors said they would like beds retained in Buxton.

At the consultation at the Pavilion Gardens last week, one campaigner spoke of his dream to build on the recent success of the Spencer Ward and turn it into a centre of excellence for the west of the county.

Cllr Young added: “The councillors thought this was a brilliant idea. We would hate to lose any services in the area and I hope the people of the High Peak know we are fighting for them.”