Health leaders are asking people in Belper for their views about plans to move health services from Babington Hospital to a new, purpose-built facility in the town.
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust (DCHSFT) is commissioned to provide a range of services for patients from the hospital in Derby Road, including community therapy services, physiotherapy, podiatry, falls prevention and intermediate care.
But difficulties posed by increasing maintenance needs and limitations of Babington Hospital’s building, and an ongoing review of Belper health services, has prompted leaders at NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to plan to move all existing services from Babington’s site – including Belper Clinic – to a new development in Derwent Street, closer to the centre of the town, with a new model of “bedded” care offered.
Clinical chiefs at the CCG, which plans and pays for health services, have worked with professionals that support patients to develop the plans. These have been shared with Belper Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) – which work with GP practices to make sure patients and carers get involved with, and influence their services.
Dr Paul Wood, practising GP and Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want the people of Belper to share their thoughts about the planned move to a new health facility so these can be incorporated wherever possible.
“The purpose-built facility will maximise all available health and care resources so patients get the best support, now and in years to come.”
The plans have gone through NHS England’s assurance process and people in Belper will have the chance to share their views until Friday 30 March 2018.
Information and opportunities to give feedback views are available at www.southernderbyshireccg.nhs.uk/have-your-say/engagements/belper-health-services/. A number of public events are being planned so people can take part in face to face chats in coming weeks. These will be published on the website.
Derbyshire County Council is developing land in Derwent Street to provide 40 new residential care home beds for their service users, and create a new library for Belper.
The CCG and DCHSFT have worked with the authority to explore opportunities for providing health services from the same site. DCHSFT purchased land in Derwent Street from the county council, on the understanding it could be sold back if a decision was made to not move services to the site. The Trust currently rents the Babington site from NHS Property Services, which has owned it since 2013.
Services will continue to be offered from the Babington site until the new Derwent Street facility is ready to house services, unless exceptional circumstances make this impossible.
Dr Wood added: “We’re excited by this opportunity to give patients and staff the chance to have brand new facilities, specifically designed for offering modern health care.
“We’ve been carefully reviewing options and local needs and have worked closely with partners to come up with the best solutions to challenges posed by the current site.
“We’re keen to make sure the superb patient care currently offered by professionals can be continued from a suitable building, in addition to being provided out in the community, in people’s own homes where appropriate and best for the individual.
“We’ve looked at a variety of options as part of a review of local area services, which we’ve been considering since 2015.
“Babington is a beautiful and iconic building but unfortunately it’s not practical to try to update the ageing, former workhouse.
“It’s partially listed, and currently a lot of space is standing empty as it’s unsuitable for purpose.
“We considered building a new development on the site but parts of it have been identified as being at risk of flooding.
“We analysed demand for inpatient services at Babington in 2016/17 and out of 200 admissions it was found just 30 were in need of their 24-hour care nursing bed.
“All other patient admissions would have been better suited to receiving nursing and social care support in a residential setting or in their own homes.
“People are living longer – which is great news – but they’re living with more long-term conditions and complex needs, such as lung and heart diseases, diabetes, and arthritis.
“We want to invest in extra community support and adapt to these needs so people can carry on with their lives with the help they need and we use hospital beds wisely and well for those that will benefit.”