Future of Rothbury hospital ward goes to Secretary of State
The future of the inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital is going to the top, after councillors voted to refer the matter to the Health Secretary.
The proposed closure of the site’s 12 beds was discussed by Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee this morning.
It came after the joint executive board of the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last month voted unanimously in favour of permanently closing the inpatient ward and shaping the existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre at the hospital.
At today's meeting, committee members heard submissions from local ward member, Coun Steven Bridgett, who talked about the care his gran received at the hospital prior to her death in 2012, and Katie Scott, from the Save Rothbury Community Hospital campaign group, as well as Dr Alistair Blair and Stephen Young, from Northumberland CCG.
The councillors were then asked whether the consultation with the committee in relation to the proposal had been adequate in terms of the content or the amount of time allowed; whether the committee considered that the proposal would not be in the best interests of the health service in Northumberland; and whether, if either of these issues was of concern to the committee, it believed that it had sufficient evidence in support of that concern to make a referral to the Secretary of State for Health on behalf of the council.
They considered that the consultation with the committee had not been adequate as the preferred option for consultation, ie, the closure of the ward and the creation of a Health and Wellbeing Centre, was decided and the consultation started before being brought to the scrutiny committee, albeit the CCG brought the matter to the first available meeting afterwards.
It was felt that whether the proposal was in the best interests of the health service in Northumberland could not be fully assessed as it has not been made clear exactly what the Health and Wellbeing Centre will be and there were also questions over the robustness of the data in relation to future-proofing and knock-on impacts in the rest of the county.
Therefore, members voted to refer the matter to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. In each case, members voted by five votes to two with one abstention.
More to follow.