Calls to intervene on proposed removal of beds at Rothbury hospital

Rothbury Community Hospital.
Rothbury Community Hospital.

Rothbury’s councillors are calling on the county council to intervene in the proposed removal of the inpatient beds from the village’s hospital.

Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is considering the fate of the ward at Rothbury Community Hospital following its closure last year.

The NHS is proposing to shut the facility permanently and shape existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site, but objectors say this goes against the wishes of the community.

Rothbury Parish Council last week wrote to Norhtumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board expressing its concerns and calling on the committee to invite the CCG and Save Rothbury Hospital campaigners to a meeting so that both sides can set out their case ‘in a fair and neutral setting’.

The letter says: ‘We realise that health and social care services are changing and will continue to do so, but we feel that by removing these 12 beds puts this community at a disadvantage.

‘All these services must be accessible for everyone and not be moved miles away to the more populated areas.

‘The needs of everyone must be addressed in a manner that involves everyone, users and providers alike.’

Meanwhile, Rothbury’s county councillor, Steven Bridgett, had wanted a motion to go before last week’s full meeting of Northumberland County Council.

His request was refused, although councillors do not normally hear motions at the authority’s annual meeting.

His motion called on the council to oppose the removal of the beds formally; recommend that the council’s health and wellbeing board refers the matter to the Secretary of State; and carry out a full risk appraisal on the possibility of lending Northumbria Healthcare the money required to buy themselves out of the PFI contract currently held on the hospital but with the caveat of the potential annual savings being used to reopen the beds .