Text Only Version Last Update: Press Releases (22 May 2006)
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Anger over ward closure plan
Bury Free Press, 4 June 2004
THE closure of a hospital ward, which cares for elderly patients, has sparked an outcry from a leading MP.
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Health bosses at West Suffolk Hospital agreed last Friday to phase out the
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33-bed G6 ward over the next three months.
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They claim there is no longer a need to have so many beds and want to move towards a more community-led care system.
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But the decision has been greeted with bemusement by MP David Ruffley, who has questioned the sense behind the move.
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A study two years ago showed Suffolk as having the sixth worst figure in the country for bed-blocking.
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And Mr Ruffley, who is the MP for Bury and Stowmarket, has warned that the move to close so many beds could end in disaster.
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"I thought the idea of ploughing so much money and resources into the NHS was to increase capacity, not reduce it," he said.
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"We want to know that there is the care and provision and enough of it to look after the elderly and infirm in our community.
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"It appears to me that the hospital is tackling the problem from the wrong angle you don't solve
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bed-blocking by cutting beds.
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"I am not accusing the hospital of being stupid, but it does seem to be a case of simple arithmetic and I fear it could end in disaster."
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The proposal to close the ward was put forward after several reviews identified the hospital as having too many patients in rehabilitation beds.
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It is now expected that G6 will be gradually phased out and its services re-located to the Integrated Care Unit in G8.
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A hospital spokesman said the new approach would see more patients treated at home or in care homes.
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"The advantage for the patient is that they will
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not get stuck in a bed
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and institutionalised for a long period of time," he said.
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"The system for treating delayed transfers of care is now coping a lot better and will mean more people can be treated outside the hospital.
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"This will mean they can be cared for at home or in community settings while allowing them to have
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the independence they deserve."
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