Ruth George MP responds to six month timeline for Spencer Ward Closure

I am very concerned to hear that staff on Spencer Ward at the Cavendish Hospital have been told that the ward will be closed in 6 months’ time, in May 2018.

This is far faster than we had been led to believe by the Clinical Commissioning Group, who promised at their decision meeting in July that a Dementia Rapid Response Team would be set up for the Buxton and High Peak area alongside Spencer ward in order to support dementia sufferers in their own homes.

We were told that this unit would be fully functioning and its effectiveness at reducing admissions to Spencer Ward would be assessed to ensure that the system was working before the CCG looked to close Spencer Ward.

Instead, staff have been given a date for the ward closure in just 6 months’ time, before the Response Team has even started to be formed, let alone start to help patients and their families.

The proposed closure in May contradicts the timeline set out for the Better Care Implementation Group which was verified at the CCG meeting on 26th October – less than 3 weeks ago.

This timeline stated that the Response Team would be initially set up in January but would not assume full responsibilities until June 2018.  It would still only operate from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday until September when more staff would be released by the closure of Spencer Ward in August so the Response Team could then operate from 8am to 8pm on 7 days a week.

It seems that decisions are being changed by officers in contradiction of the CCG’s own policies and assurances, without referring to the Governing Body.

The new time frame gives none of the dual system that we were promised, to ensure that the Response Team will be able to assist as planned to reduce the number of people needing beds.

Dementia patients who still need care in a hospital bed will be sent to Walton Hospital at Chesterfield which is much too far for patients with severe dementia to travel safely, and for many families and loved ones to be able to visit them, as we have repeatedly pointed out.

I have written to the new Chief Clinical Officer to request a discussion about the proposals.

With so many changes to the original proposals that were agreed less than 3 months ago by the CCG, I am also supporting a request to call in the CCG’s decision for the Health Ombudsman to examine.

I hope that these decisions will be looked at again and the full impact on patients and their families taken into account.

Ruth George MP

Member of Parliament for High Peak



The document on ‘Better Care’ is Paper H from page 176 of the agenda papers for 26th October.  The timeline is on page 192 – 193:

The proposed timelines published for the Dementia Rapid Response Team for High Peak and North Dales are:

Jan – April 2018               ‘Phase 1 and 2’ – a full team to be established, to work 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, but with reduced                                                                         responsibilities

June – Oct 2018               ‘Phase 3’ to be implemented – a full team with full responsibilities, just working 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

August 2018                     Spencer ward to close, releasing more staff

September 2018              ‘Phase 4’ – DRRT to have full responsibilities and work 8am to 8pm 7 days per week


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