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.
Member of Parliament for High Peak