Arguing the Case for Excellent Care at Cavendish Hospital

Ruth George MP during her visit to Fenton ward, Cavendish Hospital, Buxton

Following the positive response to my question as part of the Better Care Closer to Home consultation meeting, I have met with Steve Allinson, Chief Officer of North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and we were shown round both Spencer and Fenton wards to see the wonderful and effective care they offer to the residents of High Peak. Thank you very much to the staff who spoke with us and I know that Steve was impressed.

I appreciate that this is a very difficult time for staff and families, especially as it has just been announced that Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell will be closing next week on 23rd August. Riverside Ward had few patients, and was struggling to recruit staff, so it is a very different situation from the wards at The Cavendish which are fully utilised.

The Trust which runs the hospitals has announced that a pilot Dementia Rapid Response Team (DRRT) will be set up in the next few weeks.  I have asked for clarification as to where this pilot group will operate, which staff roles will be involved, and how its effectiveness will be measured. I have also asked for the difficult position of staff to be recognised and as much support as possible to be given to them.  Their skills, experience and commitment are vital to both current and future patients, and all the NHS bodies must strive to ensure that staff are informed, involved and supported.

The CCG has committed to run a Rapid Response Team alongside the provision at Spencer Ward to see whether it will be effective at reducing the need for the dementia assessment and support role provided by the Ward.

Whilst I would be very pleased to see support offered to more families who are struggling to care for a loved one suffering from dementia at home, I am concerned that the new provision for more seriously ill patients to be cared for at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield has not taken into account the impact of long travel distances for family and friends of patients.  This will not only cause huge distress for patients and their families, but will mean that patients cannot be supported to gradually return home for their ongoing care, which helps families stay together wherever possible and reduces the costs of care.  I am therefore supporting the complaint submitted by High Peak residents challenging the decision making process by the CCGs involved.

Whilst we have been assured that cost is not a factor in the decisions on Spencer and Fenton wards, they must be put into the context that the CCG is in a very difficult financial position, having to find £27.3m savings – over 6% of their total budget.

I appreciate the work that is being done by the CCG to try and achieve the level of cuts demanded by NHS England with the least impact on patient care. I have offered my support to persuade the Department of Health to seek fewer cuts to be required immediately.

Through all the uncertainty, one thing is certain – our need for health care is increasing rather than reducing. I hope that as our health service changes through the new Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which seek to integrate health and social care, that the need for continuing local care for elderly people in High Peak will be recognised.

I can make no promises and I will not give any assurances that I cannot fulfil, but I will continue to argue the case for the excellent care provided at Spencer and Fenton wards.

Thank you very much to all the staff who continue to give such high-quality care and who go above and beyond for your patients, even in such uncertain times.

Ruth will continue to fight for Cavendish Hospital

I understand staff were informed yesterday that the North Derbyshire and Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be recommending to their board members on Monday evening (24th July) that more funding should be put into support at home for patients who are recuperating after Hospital and those suffering with dementia. They propose that the funding should be obtained by closing Spencer ward and halving the beds on Fenton ward from 18 to 8.  With Newholme Hospital in Bakewell also closing, the only specialist dementia beds would be at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield.

I have visited Spencer and Fenton wards and saw for myself the outstanding care they give.  I have met with the CCG Chief Executive to press him very hard about this decision.  I agree that there needs to be more support for the many carers who struggle with caring for loved ones with dementia at home, but I have made clear that it is not acceptable that patients who do need hospital care are transferred to Chesterfield, far away from familiar surroundings, where their loved ones will be unable to visit as often as they wish, and in some cases not at all.

The CCG have assured me that no care beds at The Cavendish will be reduced until satisfactory alternative arrangements are in place.  That means Dementia Rapid Response Teams (DRRTs) who support patients with dementia at home would be running alongside all the beds at Spencer ward for a while.

At that stage, the CCG will need to assess whether their strategy is working to support more people to remain at home for longer, thus reducing the need for hospital beds.

Even if this is happens, I believe the best solution for both cost and for patient care is that those beds still needed for patients with severe dementia are kept in Buxton with the expertise of Spencer ward staff to care for those in-patients and provide support for carers at home.  I will attend the public meeting on Monday, 24th July.

This is the solution I will fight for.

Ruth George,

Member of Parliament for High Peak


Ruth George Elected to Represent High Peak as Member of Parliament

I am immensely honoured to have been elected as MP for High Peak with a majority of 2,322. Thank you to all those who have worked so hard for me and to all the people of High Peak who have put your trust in me. I will do my very best to fulfil those expectations.

Click here for details of the victory as it happened from the BBC.

Thank you for all of your messages of support and gratitude. We will try our best to reply to you as quickly as possible.

Watch our Campaign Video

We’ve created this video with the help of Medio Productions to help undecided constituents of the High Peak how to vote this Thursday 8th June. This snap election has had a very limited campaign period and although Ruth and her team have been active all over the High Peak in the last few weeks, it would be impossible to meet everyone in such a short time frame.

Please watch this short video and use the form on our contact page to submit any questions you might have. Thank you.

General Election Hustings

Ruth will be attending a hustings to answer questions from High Peak voters and for other candidates to debate with her on the future of the High Peak.

Thursday, 18 May at 7.30 at New Mills Town Hall

4 candidates for the general election, ready to answer questions.

Please come along to this if you can tomorrow night in New Mills. Ruth is fighting hard to be our Labour MP for the High Peak.


Ruth George is Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the High Peak

High Peak Labour Party announced yesterday (Monday 1st May) that Ruth George from Whaley Bridge has been selected as the Party’s candidate for the General Election on 8th June.

Ruth, aged 47, has lived in High Peak for over 25 years – for 15 years in New Mills, then for the over ten years with husband Mark at Tunstead Milton, between Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Ruth trained as a tax accountant and helped to found a successful accountancy business in Chapel-en-le-Frith when in her twenties, before taking up politics.

For the last 18 years Ruth has worked as Parliamentary Officer for shopworkers’ union USDAW, campaigning on behalf of staff in retail, including on raising the minimum wage, improving rights to time off work for new parents, against cuts to tax credits and compensation for victims, and setting up the ground-breaking ‘Freedom from Fear’ campaign which addresses violence and abuse of staff in shops.

Find out more About Ruth 

Fiona Sloman, Chair of High Peak Labour Party, welcomed the selection,

“Ruth is an excellent local candidate who is not only well-known for her campaigning in High Peak, but is very experienced in lobbying Parliament on behalf of low-paid workers.  She is absolutely committed to fighting injustice at every level and would make a great MP for High Peak.”

If you would like to get involved, please contact us with a message about how you can help.