Two community hospitals in Derbyshire could close under plans for a major shake-up of NHS care in the county.
Bakewell’s Newholme Hospital and Bolsover Hospital could both be closed as part of the plans, which are designed to provide care closer to home for more older people.
A public consultation on the Better Care Closer to Home proposals, which are part of the 21C #JoinedUpCare programme, will start on Monday and run until October.
The aim of the plans is to provide care closer to home for older people receiving inpatient care in a community hospital or for older people with dementia who currently receive services from community hospitals.
Health bosses say that if the proposals were introduced, over time it will reduce the demand for community hospital beds. A total of 84 general community hospital beds won’t be needed at Bolsover, Cavendish, Clay Cross, Newholme and Whitworth hospitals and a further 20 older people’s mental health beds at Cavendish and Newholme hospitals won’t be needed either.
This would then lead to the closure, over time, of Bolsover and Newholme hospitals, with remaining outpatient services being relocated locally, if the plans were to go ahead after the consultation.
Dr Ben Milton, Chair of NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP at Darley Dale Medical Centre, said: “My patients often tell me that they don’t want to go into hospital and doctors now know that patients do better if they can avoid unnecessary hospital stays, which can lead to some older people never regaining their independence.
“Medicine has changed for the better over the years. This means much of the care traditionally provided in community hospitals is just as safe to give at home where many patients prefer to be.
“It means more older people can still receive the quality of care that they need, from an expert team based in the community, without the strain of travelling to a community hospital or an unnecessary admission.”
No current service would stop until an alternative was in place, and a number of existing services would expand if the proposals were to go ahead.
Eleven public meetings are taking place between 6pm and 8pm at:
• Bolsover School, July 4
• Bakewell Agricultural Centre, July 7
• Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale, July 11
• Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, July 12
• New Mills Town Hall, July 14
• North Wingfield Community Centre, July 18
• Dronfield Civic Hall, July 20
• Chesterfield College Heart Space, July 21
• Bolsover School, July 25
• Bakewell Agricultural Centre, July 27
• Coney Green Business Centre, Clay Cross, July 28.
Dr Steve Lloyd, Chair of NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group who is a GP at St Lawrence Road Surgery, added: “The proposals in the consultation are the result of years of research and discussion with the public and colleagues in local health and social care services and the
“We’ve done a lot of work to understand people’s needs. We’ve been told they want joined-up care closer to home because there’s no bed like your own bed. Doctors, nurses, therapists and social care staff also agree it’s best, where it’s safe and possible to do so.
“Investing in community teams to provide more care closer to home would mean we won’t need as many beds in our community hospitals. This will enable us to make necessary changes that will better equip us to meet the changing needs of the local population into the future.
“We would like to hear everyone’s opinions about our plans.”
More information about the proposals and the public meeting dates and venues is available here.