An Ilkeston GP has condemned the plans to axe almost half the number of beds at Ilkeston Community Hospital as ‘very concerning’.
After the ‘Tiser exclusively revealed last week that the Heanor Road hospital is cutting bed numbers from 36 to 20, Dr Paul Travell, of Littlewick Medical Centre in Nottingham Road, said he fears for patients’ safety.
He said that his biggest worry over the move was that there will not be enough beds to go around come wintertime, when people tend to become more ill.
“I normally keep quiet about these thing but this is a massive axe,” said Dr Travell, who regularly visits the two wards at the hospital.
“In winter, there are never 16 beds available.
“I am very concerned, not only about the impact on Ilkeston patients, but on the major hospitals, such as the Royal Derby, Nottingham City and Queen’s.”
He explained that patients from the three hospitals in Derby and Nottingham are regularly transferred to Ilkeston for rehabilitation.
Now he fears there will not be enough room to treat them here and they will have to remain in the larger hospitals for treatment adding to the pressure on them.
But the NHS has defended its decision, saying that ‘the vast majority’ of patients want to spend as little time in hospital as possible.
Erewash general manager of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust Jackie Rawlings said: “We’ve seen that efficiently planned care with hospital stays only as long as needed and based on current best clinical practice can improve the chances of a better recovery for people who have had a fall, a stroke or any of the other conditions we see in our hospitals.
“This has meant that across Derbyshire on a daily basis we have spare capacity within our current bed numbers.”
Last week, the hospital announced a £150,000 donation after the sale of a bungalow left to it by ex-patient Phyllis Woodhouse.
Part of the cash is set to buy equipment to be specifically used for treating patients at home.
An NHS spokesman said that there are no job cuts expected as a result of the move and that nurses will work in the community.
But Dr Travell said: “Going from 36 beds to 20 is effectively saying that one ward is being closed. I cannot see how there won’t be job cuts here.”