Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons Chamber on the future of inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital.
Adjournment debates are held on very specific topics and enable an MP to raise pressing local matters in order to draw them to the House’s attention and to receive a direct reply from the Minister during the 30-minute debate.
A three-month public consultation, led by the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is under way to consider the fate of the ward. It runs until Tuesday, April 25.
The proposal is to permanently close the 12-bed inpatient facility and shape existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site.
Health bosses say that this could include the relocation of the GP practice, more physiotherapy services and more outpatient clinics, including possibly using video links so that patients can have a consultation with a specialist who is based at another hospital.
But objectors have described it as a huge disappointment and a short-sighted approach and accused the CCG of ignoring the heartfelt views of the community, which wants to keep the beds.
Anne-Marie said: “I believe it is vital that we maintain inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital so that local patients and their families have a choice between receiving respite and palliative care at home, or in the hospital.
“So many local residents have told me how much they have valued the care they or loved ones received there, and I believe we ought to maintain such an important community asset.
“The local NHS is consulting on the future of inpatient beds at Rothbury at the moment and I would urge local residents to take part in the consultation and have their say, and make it clear how much we value those beds. In the meantime, this debate will enable me to raise the issue with the Minister, and put on the record how strongly people feel about this issue.”
The debate will be held on Thursday, March 9, after the main business of the House has concluded, at around 5.30pm.
The ward has been temporarily closed since the beginning of September. The NHS has said this was due to ‘low usage’.
The NHS is planning to be in a position to make a decision about the inpatient facility by the summer.