AN OPEN LETTER ON THE CLOSURE OF NEWHOLME HOSPITAL
26th September 2016
Better Care Closer to Home – proposed closure of Newholme Hospital, Bakewell
I am writing on behalf of the Bakewell & the Peaks Labour Party branch which has over 130 members living in the immediate area and many others working in local services. We strongly believe that these proposals should be seen in the context of a botched reorganisation of the NHS by the then Conservative Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, and a continuing shortfall in the level of resources for the needs of patients both nationally and locally.by the current Tory government.
In particular, we strongly object to the proposal to close Newholme Hospital in Bakewell and a vague promise to replace this with more home and community based services. As well as in-patient beds , there are also many other services provided at Newholme Hospital which could be removed from patients if the hospital were to close:
- Physiotherapy Centre and Rheumatology Clinics
- Podiatry services
- Rehabilitation Services
- Out Patient Appointments
- Children’s and Families’ Unit
- Counselling Services
- Bakewell Day Centre for the Elderly
We are a rural location with poor public transport services, particularly in the surrounding villages, (transport services which have also been reduced as part of Local Government spending cuts) and subject to difficult weather conditions which make it difficult to travel to services based in other locations such as Chesterfield. Currently, the location of Newholme Hospital is very well suited for our residents as it is easily accessible and has parking available. Closure of the hospital will make it very difficult for residents to access the services listed above which are not part of the ‘Better Care Closer to Home’ proposals as these would be provided by facilities which are not necessarily in the local area. Many people who currently use Newholme are able to get there under their own steam or with limited support from family so relocating services further away will lead to reliance on other, more expensive transport, and a loss of independence.
We also do not agree that provision of the proposed home and community based patient services will be beneficial for many elderly patients. The current hospital based services available to the elderly are far better suited to the needs of many patients and their carers, especially the availability of dedicated wards and beds which are fully utilised at Newholme Hospital. This allows a phased return of elderly patients from specialised hospital care to their own homes with easy access for relatives and friends.
Newholme is a much valued resource within our community which is ALREADY offering “Better Care Closer to Home”; what is proposed is an ill thought out idea which will never replace the local professional support that Newholme provides. We are absolutely opposed to the closure of Newholme and want to see it remain open AND properly funded, continuing to provide the community with excellent local services.