More than 100 signatures have been collected in a month after a petition was set up to save the Manners Ward at Ilkeston Community Hospital.
The Ilkeston and District 50+ Forum decided at their August meeting to start collecting signatures after a number of the group’s members raised coincerns over the closure of half of the Heanor Road hospital’s beds.
Chairman of the group, Rita Leverton, told the Advertiser: “A lot of our members use the hospital, have been treated there or know someone who has.
“We are so worried that the ward closure will mark the beginning of the end for such a valuable local resource.
“I haven’t heard a bad word said about the hospital, everyone praises the top quality care on offer there.
“People are very upset at the thought of the beds and ward closing.”
But the Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group repeated reassurances that the closing of Manners Ward will not mean the hospital’s future is at risk, nor will the quality of care on offer to patients in the area be compromised.
Chairman Dr Avi Bhatia said: “Patients want to be treated locally.
“We want to utilise the hospital - we are not looking to shut it down or mothball it.”
Funding has been frozen which Dr Bhati said played a part in the decision to close beds but he explained that changing ways of caring for patients was the main reason for the closure.
He explained: “We are trying to keep patients out of hopistal and care for them at home.
“That will not lead to the quality of that care being any less - patients and doctors prefer that.”
But concerned members of the 50+ forum disagree.
Mrs Leverton said: “There are lots of old people who live alone and they don’t want to be cared for at home, they need the reassurance there is someone there day and night if they are unwell.
“Caring for people at home will only add to the burden that already exists for community carers.
“Nurses and hospital staff might be trained up to treat people at home but they won’t be able to be there 24/7 like they are on a hospital ward.
“It’s unfair on staff and patients.”
Anyone who would like to sign the petition can do so by visiting the Advertiser office at 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston.