There are a lot of changes afoot for healthcare in Buxton. I was delighted to see the plans for a new hospital on the derelict Nestle site – but it will be some years before that new hospital is up and running.
In the meantime, patients are faced with the imminent closure of Spencer ward at the Cavendish, and the proposal to close half of Fenton Ward’s rehabilitation beds this summer, causing uncertainty for staff who need to apply for new jobs. For patients and their families, there is worry at a time when they need certainty and security.
I met with the Chief Officer in charge of commissioning healthcare to find some answers and press for the best outcomes for High Peak patients and staff.
I am very concerned that the new Dementia Rapid Response Team (DRRT) for High Peak and the Dales, which will support for families caring for a loved one with dementia, is proposed to be based in Bakewell, which will make it harder for Buxton staff to reach, and give all staff more travelling time and less time for patients in High Peak.
I have argued for a second base for the DRRT in Buxton, which would cut down on staff travelling time and make it easier for Spencer Ward’s fantastic and experienced staff to continue caring for local patients.
I have also asked for the decision to close nine beds in Fenton Ward to be reviewed due to the lack of beds this winter. It seems very short-sighted to be closing beds when there is such high demand.
I am pleased that the Chief Officer has agreed to discuss these proposals at the next Board meeting, and at the commitment to look again at the travel issues raised by a hardy group of High Peak residents who recently made the return trip from Hayfield to Walton Hospital, by public transport, and were only able to visit the hospital for an hour due to the bus timings.
It has at least been confirmed that at least nine beds at Fenton Ward will stay open until the new hospital is built, and that the number of High Peak patients supported by the new Dementia Team will be monitored, to make sure High Peak residents receive the support they need.
There is much to fight for in our health services. As someone who has had to rely on our NHS for my family’s care, I know just how important it is for a much care as possible to be local, and I will continue to fight for just that.