THE public are being given more time to have their say on planned changes to Ashfield Health Village in Kirkby - but it has been revealed that two dementia wards will move to other hospitals.
In the summer, NHS Nottinghamshire County launched its Vision for a Healthier Ashfield plan to tackle the ‘time bomb’ of an ageing population, a growing bill for drugs and an increase in diseases such as diabetes and heart failure.
Residents were invited to take part in a consultation, which included two public meetings in Kirkby and one in Mansfield.
As part of the proposals, health chiefs want to invest £1.5 million in new services for people with long-term conditions such as diabetes as well as a ‘one stop service’ for the elderly.
They also recommended that inpatient wards for people suffering from conditions such as dementia should be moved to specialist centres.
At a board meeting held at Birch House in Mansfield on Thursday, it was announced that the dementia wards Shelly and Bronte would move to King’s Mill Hospital and Highbury Hospital in Bulwell.
It is likely that the transfer will take place this month and bosses say that a taxi provision will be made for existing families who have to travel to Highbury.
Meanwhile, plans to move the stroke rehabilitation service to King’s Mill and Chatsworth ward, which is for neurological rehabilitation, to Mansfield Community Hospital have been put on hold so that further consultation with the public can take place.
Dr Amanda Sullivan, Chief Officer at NHS Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told the board meeting that Ashfield Health Village could be used by community groups and that the changes would put the facility on a ‘more sustainable footing for the future’.
Responding to concerns about the distance Ashfield people would have to travel to Highbury, Dr Sullivan said that relatives of existing patients would have the cost of a taxi covered for two visits a week for three months.
She added: “It’s a specialist service that serves the whole of the county not just Ashfield. There will be some who benefit and some who are disadvantaged.”
But the move has been criticised by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, who said that the move to Highbury would have a ‘devastating’ impact on families in Ashfield.
She said: “This means anyone whose loved one suffers with dementia with challenging behaviour from Ashfield now faces making a around a 34-mile round trip to visit their loved one.
“This change will hit those who don’t have access to a car particularly hard and will involve at least one bus journey taking over an hour there and over an hour back.
“Plenty of people have already told me what they think, including one lady from Stanton Hill who said she hates the idea of travelling all the way to Bulwell as it’s a nightmare to get to using public transport.
“She told me it will have devastating impact on people visiting loved ones and that she doesn’t think it will be possible to visit her husband as regularly as she does now.”
l People can have their say on health services at Ashfield Health Village and wider health issues in the area at a Big Health Forum event which will be held at the Summit Centre in Kirkby on 12th December from 4pm until 8pm. There will be another event at Mansfield’s Civic Centre on 13th December from 10am until 4pm.