Health chiefs reassured worried patients and residents that Ilkeston Community Hospital will notclose despite a reduction in bed numbers.
Ever since the Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) and the Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group (ECCG) announced that the Manners Ward would close rumours have been rife over the future of the Heanor Road hospital.
But on Tuesday, William Jones, director of operations for DCHS, told a packed out Charnos Hall that there are no plans to close the hospital.
He said: “Ilkeston Hospital will not close.
“We are committed to it being a valuable health resource for years to come.”
Mr Jones explained thatthe decision to close beds and therefore the Manners Ward was not purely down to money although he did admit that DCHS are facing ‘financial challenges.’
He explained that as a result of the bed closures there have been no redundancies and 18 extra full time staff will be out working in the community and caring for patients at home.
Dr Markus Henn, a GP at Littlewick Medical Centre and member of the ECCG, said: “Patients say to us as doctors that they don’t want to be in hospital and want to be treated at home.
“This isn not always the best option and if that is the case they will still be admitted but care is changing and we are seeing people being admitted to hospital when they don’t need to be and these changes will help tos top that.”
But worried meeting goers questioned health bosses over how well community based staff will cope with demand and raised concerns over people being shifted between NHS care and adult social care.
Dr Henn added: “That is a concern I share but this is a process that we shall have to manage properly.
“We have to be responsible with our resources and empty beds and staff looking at them is not how we should be spending NHS money.”