Labour blasts bed cuts plan

Labour councillors have blasted plans to axe nearly half the beds at Ilkeston Community Hospital and to close Ilkeston ambulance station as ‘cost-cutting’.

Derbyshire Communitiy Health Services said the plan to slash bed numbers from 36 to 20 was because more patients want to be treated at home.

But Cllr Howard Griffiths said it was ‘spin to cover forced cuts and asset stripping’.

“In Tory-speak, ‘care in the community’ often means ‘no care anywhere’,” he said.

“Since Thatcher introduced the idea, it’s been code for offloading the burden of the sick instead of providing care as part of an NHS, free at the point of need and available for all.”

Changes to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) will see stations, such as the one in Manners Road, closing in favour of ‘tactical deployment spots’.

Cllr Griffiths aked: “Where is the evidence to prove that such changes will lead to a better service?”

The plan was approved by NHS board members last week and is now out for public consultation.

An EMAS spokesman said stations remain empty throughout the day.