PLEAS to publicise a potential consultation on scrapping local hospital beds have been turned down by council bosses.
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust is looking at potentially reducing beds in Shipston’s Ellen Badger and Stratford Hospitals. The move would support a ‘discharge to access beds’ (D2A), meaning discharged patients could receive hospital aftercare for up to six weeks in their own home or in a community nursing home.
If the review into inpatient facilities finds in favour of scrapping beds, then a public consultation would be launched in November.
Stratford Liberal Democrat councillors Kate Rolfe and Susan Juned proposed a motion to Stratford District Council (SDC), requesting the authority help publicise the consultation, while supporting keeping beds, both in the hospital and D2A – where they can be easily accessed by residents.
But the motion was turned down by Tory leaders on the basis there was not yet a consultation underway.
Coun Juned also asked the motion be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny committee so communities’ views could be included when the SWFT presents the results, but this was also rejected.
Coun Juned said: “I was disappointed at the outright rejection, but hope when SWFT presents its review, the district council will be able to adequately represent local community views on such an important matter. Inpatient beds are very much an appreciated local service.
“In Alcester, we lost not only the non-acute beds, but also the whole local hospital some years ago. I have personal experience of how having these beds can be a positive experience for a patient. I also know how much the local Alcester hospital was valued by the community as a whole. Even so, the decision was taken to close the service.
“We feel there has been an erosion of other valued public services over many years despite the increasing age profile and the rural nature of our district.”
She added she hoped the trust would engage with councillors in the matter of ‘vital importance to our communities’ throughout the review.
A spokesperson for the SWFT responded: “The purpose of the review is to identify the extent to which the current model of care meets the needs of the population of south Warwickshire both now and in the years to come and will be exploring previous, current and future use of our community hospital beds alongside out-of-hospital services.
“The pandemic has led to new ways of working and therefore an opportunity to review the use of these facilities, and this will be a contributing factor within this review. The review is currently underway and the trust will share recommendations at the appropriate time.”
Changes to redevelopment plans for the Ellen Badger hospital sparked controversy earlier this year when bosses scaled back on plans for in-patient facilities. The plans were split into two phases, the first which focused on a new GP facility and wellbeing hub, with the second phase, which involved redeveloping in-patient facilities, potentially off the table.
The trust argued the phased approach was the only way forward, and reassessments would only stall its progress and potentially stop the project entirely.