Hospital ‘safe’ from closure say bosses

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RUMOURS that Ilkeston Community Hospital could close following Government cuts to the health service were quashed this week by the county’s health bosses.

Ilkeston councillor Glennice Birkin raised residents’ concerns at a community forum meeting last week following a talk on the proposed cuts to the county’s NHS services.

She asked Claire Haynes, of Derbyshire County NHS, who could not give any reassurances that the facility was safe from the Government axe.

Cllr Birkin said: “What are the chances of our local hospital being shut down?”

Ms Haynes responded: “We have a fantastic hospital in Ilkeston, but the truth is we have absolutely no idea.

“There should be a public consultation with any change in service like that but it’s dependant on so many different levels. I really can’t say.”

However a spokesman for NHS Derbyshire County has stepped in to the argument this week to allay residents’ fears.

He said: “Ilkeston Community Hospital is an important place and there are no plans to close it.”

Assurances were also given that none of the county’s 12 community hospitals will be closed despite the cuts.

Ms Hayes told the meeting at the Arena in Rutland Street on Thursday that Derbyshire County NHS has to save £245m by March 2014 and is ‘looking at every single service’.

She said it was the biggest change for the NHS since 1948.

Of that £245m, Derbyshire Community Health Service, responsible for the Heanor Road hospital, has to make savings of £24.3m.

She explained that the cuts were being made because of the rising cost of and demand for healthcare, combined with the Government’s decision that healthcare investment will rise by just 0.4 per cent above inflation.

“Demand for NHS services means the NHS must become more efficient,” she told residents at the forum meeting.