No reprieve for wards

PUBLISHED: 11:45 03 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:40 28 May 2010

IT EMERGED this week that a boost given to community hospitals by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt will not prompt health chiefs to re-open wards at Doddington Hospital. The Government's White Paper calls for a new generation" of community hospitals, and

IT EMERGED this week that a boost given to community hospitals by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt will not prompt health chiefs to re-open wards at Doddington Hospital.The Government's White Paper calls for "a new generation" of community hospitals, and Mrs Hewitt has said NHS bosses should not put short-term budgetary problems ahead of the long-term future of hospitals.Campaigners who fought the closure of Alan Conway Court and the Iceni Unit at Doddington Hospital were heartened by this, and North-East Cambridgeshire MP Malcolm Moss has declared it a U-turn on community hospitals.But Cath Mitchell, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Primary Care Trust's director of integrated services said: "This White Paper will not result in the PCT re-opening closed wards."The White Paper talks about a new generation of community hospitals in terms of community services - meaning more people should have access to primary care locally, rather than having to go to acute hospitals."Mrs Mitchell said this meant plans for the £22m urgent care centre at Doddington Hospital, with improved X ray, diagnostic and specialists services, would forge ahead.She said: "Our bid is with the strategic health authority, and we are expecting to be called to present our case in the next few weeks."Mrs Mitchell said there was no longer a need for that amount of inpatient care and that increased rehabilitation, occupational therapy and physiotherapy was now being provided in patients' homes, and at the Wendreda Day Unit at Doddington.She said GPs were referring patients directly there, rather than to hospital.Mr Moss said the White Paper stressed reorganisation was only right when the service was not needed, or was not clinically viable.He says the PCT has pushed ahead with closures, despite strong local need and is to ask the Health Secretary if she plans to intervene.

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