LETTER: Ward closures are unworkable and destructive

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It’s good to see our local MP, Ruth George, fighting for the future of local health care amenities.

Perhaps I’m missing something here - how can the authorities who have made the unanimous decision to close Spencer Ward at Cavendish Hospital in Buxton claim that it’s all part of “Better Care Closer to Home”? Once the ward is closed the nearest alternative will be in Chesterfield.

Now I’ve looked on the map, and Chesterfield’s Walton Hospital is a good 25 miles from Cavendish Hospital. Closer to home? I don’t think so.

If by closer to home they mean that dementia patients should be cared for in their own homes, either by health visitors or by family members, then they clearly know nothing whatsoever about caring for patients with dementia.

Having had personal experience of this situation I can categorically state that such “solutions” are unworkable, and they’re destructive for both the patient and their family.

What does make sense in all this is the two Clinical Commissioning Groups’ desire to cut expenditure. It has nothing to do with “Better Care”, it’s about lowering costs at any price. For seven years now the government have, through their severe austerity programme, effectively been cutting the funding to an ever-more-needy NHS service. With less to spend and a requirement to save we get the totally misleading sound bite “Better Care Closer to Home”. If anybody feels that the ward closure will make things better then they should look carefully at the realities of life, which many of us have already seen - and it’s not good.

I would urge people to support Ruth George in her fight to keep Spencer Ward open and to truly keep dementia care closer to home.

Dave Johnson