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Health bosses make Belper services pledge

Belper

Health bosses running a review of NHS services in Belper have provided the latest on progress. 

The update includes a pledge that Babington Hospital will not be closed without a replacement facility being in place to receive services.

NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been asking for people to give their opinion about health services in the town as part of a review of services available in the community.  The review, which began in August 2015, had paused while available options for the future make up of services were being considered. 

Now the CCG has said that while they are still trying to finalise available options, they want to reassure people in the town that services will not be actively removed. 

Gary Thompson, the CCG’s Chief Officer, said: “There has been a pause since we looked at the feedback from local people at our Governing Body in February.  This has been because we need to be sure that any options which we consult local people about need to be options we can actually deliver.

“We’re conscious that a couple of months have passed since we made any announcements and while we are still developing the options, and likely to be doing so for at least the next few months, we pledge to local people that we have no plans to close Babington Hospital without there being an equivalent or better place for services to relocate to in the town.

“We know that once we are able to explain the options to people – and the reasons why it has taken this long to come out and talk to people again – that people in the town will understand why there was a delay.  Unfortunately at this stage we can’t go into more detail, but we can say that there is the potential for something very positive for the future of services in the town and we have to capitalise on that opportunity if we can.”

The only risk to the pledge is that the chance of the hospital’s ageing and increasingly fragile infrastructure failing before any replacement is available.  The winter months put additional strain on the hospital systems, in particular its heating and water system, and any serious problems could mean moving patients very quickly.   However, plans are in place for how that issue would be managed should it arise.

Mr Thompson continued: “The building is old and struggles to meet modern standards and while the care provided there is safe and of excellent quality, we know that the NHS cannot rely on the hospital working properly for much longer.  So we have to find a solution and we are doing that as quickly as we can. I’d hope that we would have proposals for review by our Governing Body meeting in late autumn.  Even if we had to take emergency action, that wouldn’t change our longer term desire to have those services provided within the town.”

Health bosses make Belper services pledge