Campaigners gathered to protest amid fears of further cuts at Ilkeston Community Hospital.
Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has come under fire from Labour campaigners who are demanding health chiefs rule out any reduction in bed spaces at the hospital.
It comes just a week after the town’s Minor Injury Unit’s opening hours were cut.
The group gathered outside the Erewash CCG office on Thursday, July 5 to raise public support against proposed further cuts to services in the town’s hospital.
Catherine Atkinson, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash, said: “We feel very strongly that Ilkeston Community Hospital should not have fewer beds, if anything it needs more. We want those cuts to be ruled out.”
However, changes to the hospital’s services have been met with positivity by some – as it give NHS staff more time to focus on busier periods and provide better care during these times.
Lesley Marshallsay, a minor injury unit manager for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re very happy to support the change in opening hours so our staff can be focused on supporting the busy times when more patients need the service, and we can improve the consistency of care across Derbyshire.”
Some residents have concerns about the knock on effects reducing bed spaces will have on hospitals in Nottingham and in Derby.
Councillor Pamela Phillips, who has recently been treated at Ilkeston Community Hospital, said: “It will be horrendous for Derby Royal, it will be horrendous for Queen’s Medical Centre, there will be more bed blocking because there are not the beds to send the older people out to.”
Ilkeston MP Maggie Throup has accused Labour of peddling ‘baseless rumours’ about the hospital’s future. She said: “As a former NHS worker, I understand how vital our hospital at Ilkeston is and will always defend the services it provides.”
Health bosses say the changes to opening hours at MIUs are due to the low number of patients who visit after 8pm. Labour campaigners fear the next step will be the closure of one of the two wards in the hospital or a ward amalgamation, which both have the potential to reduce bed spaces for a hospital that provides palliative care and rehabilitation with a combined total of 28 beds across the two wards.