I am writing to express serious concern about the consultation process and the implications of proposals about medical care for the frail elderly, including people who have dementia.
The local NHS, under enormous pressure from Government, is being forced to try to provide healthcare with a budget that is too small to meet the need s of our communities.
Under the banner of Better Care, Closer to Home, there are drastic proposals to close many community hospital beds, and whole community hospitals including at Bolsover.
These community hospitals teach people to walk again and to become more independent, so as well as improving the lives of elderly people and their hard-pressed carers, community hospitals save money in the long run.
Instead, beds are to be bought in private care homes, as Derbyshire County Council, already operating some of these beds, cannot meet all the demand.
So the strain will be taken by the private care system, which is struggling to stay afloat financially because of Government cuts, and by carers. As a carer myself, I know that many of us are physically and emotionally damaged by the strains of caring.
The crisis teams, meant to cover emergencies in the absence of community hospital beds will only operate between 8am and 8pm, while many patients with dementia go into crisis in the night.
It seems unlikely that the consultant psychiatrist who will be on duty 24/7 will be able to cope single-handed with the demand, as it is nursing and personal care that are often needed during the night, but seem impossible to access then outside a community hospital.
You would expect that such dramatic proposals would be well-publicised so that they could be debated.
Many of us were, and still are, unaware that a “consultation process” began in June and ends early in October.
However, NHS staff accept there has been “a glitch” because “the company paid to deliver notices through all letterboxes did not do so”. Perhaps the consultation period might have been extended, or the letterbox drop repeated?
The answer to that is NO. When I wrote to the Chief Executive of the Clinical Commissioning Group in charge of this consultation, expressing my concerns about the weakness of the process, he assured me that all was well but also stated that as there had been problems, they were running extra public meetings. I urge everyone who can possibly get to the Chesterfield Panthers Rugby Club on Dunston Road on Thursday September 8 at 10 am to attend the NHS public consultation meeting, raise questions about what is said and put your point of view. Otherwise it will be too late.’