GPs reveal concerns that community hospital bed axe could force local patients further afield for treatment

AN ILKESTON GP surgery has written to health bosses expressing concerns over the proposals to axe eight beds at the town’s community hospital.

Dr Nigel Downes wrote the letter to William Jones, Director of Service Delivery for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, on behalf of the doctors at Littlewick Medical Centre who say the hospital is already full to capacity.

He told the Advertiser: “The hospital mainly provides a rehabilitation service to patients transferred from Derby and Nottingham hospitals.

“Ilkeston GPs are also able to admit patients directly for treatment including palliative care.

“Mr Jones implies there are unused beds in the Derbyshire community hospitals, my concern is that in the winter and also recently, the hospital beds have been full and I have had to place a patient on a waiting list before a bed has been available on one of the two wards at Ilkeston.

“In a letter to us from Mr Jones he states ‘Reducing the number of beds will not have any impact on our services-we will continue to care for the same number of patients each year’. My partners and I find this hard to believe in view of the high bed occupancy that we observe.”

A former senior partner at the practice, Dr John Skinner, was the driving force behind the development of the new hospital and GPs at Littlewick are keen to keep as many services as possible local.

“It is an excellent local resource and patients often prefer to be admitted there rather than to the larger hospitals,” added Dr Downes.

“Several previous alterations, including the establishment of a renal dialysis unit on Shipley ward, have avoided the need for patients to travel to Derby or Nottingham hospitals.

“We are concerned the current proposal could make it more difficult to admit patients with cancer for palliative care and other medical conditions, normally managed by local GPs and to transfer patients from Derby and Nottingham hospitals for rehabilitation at Ilkeston.”