The group which will take control of Erewash’s NHS services next year has said Ilkeston Community Hospital is ‘absolutely not’ closing down, despite shutting one of the wards.
Dr Avi Bhatia, chair of Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group, explained that the 16 beds being axed are to be ‘mothballed’ for use in emergencies and closing Manners Ward will free up staff to work in the community.
But he said that the Heanor Road hospital was too good a resource to lose.
“Patients want to be treated locally,” he said.
“We want to utilise the hospital – we are not looking to shut it or slowly mothball it.”
He admitted the move was partly about money but said it would improve care in the borough and that it was based on a succesful scheme trialled in Torbay in Devon.
He added: “The funding is flat but not being cut – we have got to be more efficient in what we do best with the reseources we have.
“We are trying to keep patients out of hospital and care for them at home.
“That will not lead to the quality of that care being any less – patients prefer that , doctors prefer that – it’s win, win, win.”
A nurse at the hospital, who did not want to be named, said this week that staff were being re-interviewed for their jobs.
She said: “We feel as though we’ve been misled.
“If we can’t keep working here we’re going to be moved to other hospitals.
“The ward is a big loss for the hospital and for the town, patients and their families are all really upset.”
But Dr Bhatia said that while it was ‘understandable’ that staff were concerned, he has been ‘assured’ by Derbyshire Community Health Services there will be no job losses and staff will be trained up to work in the community.