Campaigners have slammed health chiefs after plans to close beds at Ilkeston Hospital were discussed at a County Council meeting this week.
Liz Potter, head of Derbyshire Anti-Cuts Campaign, told the Advertiser that the explanations given for the bed closures are unsatisfactory and the chair of the scrutiny panel, Jill Farrington, requested another meeting with bosses from Derbyshire Community Heaklth Services to allow the public to have their say.
Tracey Allen, chief executive of the trust, told the committee that service reviews carried out in 2010 revealed that60 per cent of patients being treated in hospitals didn’t need to be there.
She said: “We are investing in advanced community services. We are reducing bed numbers to reflect the reduced length of stay in hospital.
“Ilkeston Community Hospital is an incredibly valuable resource and the services there have to change in that hospital to maintain, sustain and improve it.”
Campaigners said they were concerned about the explanations given and added that 24 hour care was still a necessity in communities.
Liz Potter said: “They are playing with our lives by cutting those beds at Ilkeston Hospital.
“They have good hearts and good intentions but I feel this is a serious, serious mistake.
“A councillor said at the scrutiny committee after questioning them, ‘fingers crossed that it works then’ and they nodded, this is people’s lives you can’t cross your fingers over that.”
Bosses said that staff would move to seven day working to ensure that there will be permananent cover and added that if community hopsitals experienced bed shortages during peak times like winter, staff and beds would be reinstated to deal with demand.
To sign a petition set up by Ilkeston 50+ Forum to reverse the decision over bed closures visit the Advertiser office, 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston.