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Fears over future of Tenbury’s hospital prompted by cuts
12:19pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
CONCERN is growing over the threat posed by a planned loss of beds at Tenbury Community Hospital.
The cuts are part of a money saving exercise by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and will hit the hospital just a year after the completion of a £1.4 refurbishment.
The trust is planning to shed about 10 per cent of the county's 200 community hospital beds – in Tenbury, Malvern, Bromsgrove, Evesham and Pershore.
The idea is that more people can be treated and convalesce at home.
Harriett Baldwin, MP for Tenbury, pictured, is setting up a meeting with health chiefs in a bid to resolve the situation.
The MP is planning to meet with the chief executive of the trust over the planned cuts.
Tenbury’s hospital has undergone significant improvement work to provide extra beds and stateof- the-art facilities for patients.
“My constituents do value being treated in their own home where possible,” said Harriett Baldwin.
“What concerns me about this report is, I think, that the community hospitals are often a good location for a transition from an acute hospital, before patients are able to return home?
“I would want to ensure that the community hospitals are working in a joinedup way with the acute hospitals and GPs as part of the joint services review to ensure that there is an easy transition to our community hospitals and that these wonderful community beds are fully used.
Ken Pollock who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire Council was the first to flag up a decision taken almost a year ago to ‘temporarily’ close the operating theatre at the hospital.
Despite promises that it would reopen the facility that undertook minor surgical procedures remains shut.
“Of course, it is better whenever possible to treat people at home but the hospital is valued locally and there would be strong resistance should any attempt ever be made to close it,”
said Coun Pollock.
Beds at hospital will be lost, more patients treated at home and jobs cut as part of a transformation of health services to save £40 million over the next five years.
Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has to find savings of about £8 million a year until 2017/18, about five per cent of its overall service budgets.
About 10 per cent of the county's 200 community hospital beds will close initially, with the potential for more to follow if the new model is deemed a success.
About 300 of 4,500 jobs with the trust are also being cut.
Spending cuts will be made in mental health, community care and children's services, while community hospitals will become treatment hubs, offering fewer beds but a greater range of services under one roof.
"Although there is a financial challenge, the motivation is really about finding new and innovative ways of treating people in or as close to home as possible,” said Sarah Duggan, NHS Chief Executive.
Jan Ditheridge, director of service delivery, has said community hospitals will not be closing.