We provide a selection of news stories from local papers across the UK, to illustrate current events concerning community hospitals.


Future of Rothbury Ward goes to the Secretary of State


Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee has voted to refer the proposed closure of Rothbury ward.   Last month the joint executive board of the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) voted unanimously in favour of permanently closing the inpatient ward and shaping the existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre at the hospital.  The closure is on hold and the final decision rests with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Katie Scott, from the Save Rothbury Community Hospital campaign group said at the meeting "Surely at all stages the scrutiny committee should have been consulted? It seems to us that you have been ignored," she said. "I believe today is the first opportunity in over 14 months for the committee to fully examine the proposal to take away our beds."






Shaftesbury hospital beds saved in Dorset health service shake-up


Campaigners are jubilant after winning the battle to save beds at Shaftesbury hospital as part of a Dorset-wide review of health services.


The governing body of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group voted to maintain a community hub with beds at the town’s Westminster Memorial Hospital as part of a raft of proposals that will shape the future of health care provision in the county. But the hub is set to move from the hospital site as the CCG proposal also agreed it should stay until a new model for services is established. Julian Prichard, founder of the Shaftesbury campaign group Save our Beds! said after today's meeting in Dorchester that he was delighted with the decision.  Read more



The Friends of Braintree Hospital says public must have say on proposed Braintree Community Hospital Ward changes 


PROPOSED changes at Braintree Community Hospital should not take place before the public have had their say, a community group has said. The Friends of Braintree Community Hospital has promised to hold the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to account over the plans, the nature of which are currently not clear. Proposals are believed to be changes to the use of beds within the Courtauld Ward - a 24-bed facility providing rehabilitation and end-of-life care for elderly patients. Read more


MP tells NHS trust not to waste time on "bogus consultation" for Holsworthy Hospital


“Sadly I am not yet convinced that the NDHT or CCG are seriously engaging in what can be described as a plan to reopen the hospital.” said Mr Cox. “I will shortly be meeting the Minister for Hospitals, Phillip Dunne MP, to discuss with him the future of our community hospitals and local health services, and, in particular the reduction of bed capacity in the local NHS.” Read more



MP Layla Moran to bring community hospital cut concerns to health minister


THE FUTURE of Abingdon Community Hospital will be discussed at a meeting between Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran and Health Minister Steven Brine.

Ms Moran will be asking for a guarantee from the Government that patients will not face bed cuts or a reduction in services at the hospital as part of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's controversial 'transformation plans'. A legal challenge to the changes was last week granted a full hearing. Ms Moran has already raised concerns about possible cuts to beds and services at the Abingdon hospital in the House of Commons and described the Marcham Road facility as a 'treasured asset'.

Read more




Potters Bar hospital fears as figures show five services cut in a year


Potters Bar Community Hospital is facing an uncertain future after it emerged that five of its services have been cut in just over a year – with more potentially at risk. Since August 2016, Royal Free has stopped its Potters Bar-based ENT (ear, nose and throat) services, dermatology, general surgery and orthopaedics. Urology was also scrapped in June 2015. Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden said: “Like many constituents I was concerned to learn about these changes to services at Potters Bar Community Hospital. “I have been in direct contact with the Royal Free to share these concerns and will soon be meeting personally with their chief executive, Sir David Sloman. “It is my understanding that the future of the hospital is fully secure, but I am seeking an urgent clarification from them and the local NHS clinical commissioning group, Herts Valley, about the reasons behind these decisions and the hospital.” Read more



Patients are being 'abandoned' despite plans to review minor injury unit closures


Withernsea Community Hospital in-patient unit was shut as a temporary measure last month. A month after its "temporary" closure Withernsea Community Hospital shows no sign of reopening to patients. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a review of controversial plans to permanently close the hospital's minor injury unit and another in Hornsea, but neither City Healthcare Partnership nor East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have said when the hospital may reopen. Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has said while he welcomes the review, it does not "allay concerns" for Withernsea Community Hospital's immediate future.

Read more



Two hospitals set to close to make way for new £11million facility


Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services which runs the county's community hospitals, said she is "excited" by the opportunity to develop new facilities in the area. We hope these new facilities will enable us to provide a wider range of services. Sometimes we're not able to provide that consistency across the two sites. Currently there are 47 beds between Lydney and the Dilke hospitals, while the minimum number of beds the new hospital would have is 24. Bed occupancy at both hospitals is often at 95 per cent, but the NHS says only half of patients at both hospitals are from the Forest of Dean. Health bosses believe 24 beds would be a "robust number to support the locality." The new publicly-funded hospital could provide an endoscopy suite, but will not include a birthing unit or operating centre.

Read more.



Wait for better healthcare in Maldon district continues


Since 2003 plans have been considered for replacing the “ageing” St Peter’s Hospital with a new community hospital for Maldon. Proposals have now been unveiled for “Maldon Health Hub.” The CCG said that it should no longer be referred to as a hospital as there was no guarantee the new facility would include beds.

Read more



Lord and Lady Fellowes open new palliative care unit in Blandford


A new palliative care unit at Blandford Community Hospital has been officially opened by Lord Julian and Lady Emma Fellowes. The development costing over £200,000 and funded by the health authority with assistance from the Friends of Blandford Community Hospital has involved converting part of the first floor Tarrant Ward and disused Betty Highwood ward, which was closed in 2013, into a separate unit providing two palliative care suites, four side rooms, a day room and outdoor facility which will in due course be shared with patients in Tarrant Ward. Read more



Devon:  Bid to refer hospital bed closures to Health Secretary defeated at angry meeting


Councillors have voted not to refer controversial plans to close hospital beds across Devon to the Health Secretary after a rowdy meeting at County Hall.   Opponents of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) scheme to close 71 community hospital beds in Whipton, Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton, packed into an emergency meeting of the health scrutiny committee on Tuesday.   The meeting voted narrowly to support Cllr Gilbert's motion not to refer the plans, by seven votes to six with one abstention.  Read more



Devon:  Shock closure of two Devon maternity wards

Heather Penwarden, the chair of Honiton Hospital League of Friends, said they were saddened by the news that Honiton will lose the maternity ward where 'many generations have been born'.   Mrs Penwarden said: "My understanding is that because the medical wards are closing there will be no other staff in the buildings overnight and the midwives would be there alone.”




Derbyshire:  Two Derbyshire hospitals to close after health bosses agree to axe beds


Health bosses all voted in favour to close wards across five Derbyshire hospitals which look after older people’s mental health and community health. Bolsover and Newholme hospitals will close.   The proposals that were agreed are to:  Permanently close 16 beds at Bolsover, 16 beds at Clay Cross, 16 beds at Newholme, 20 beds at Whitworth, 16 beds at Cavendish and Permanently close older persons’ mental health community hospital beds; 10 beds at Cavendish, and 10 beds at Newholme.

There will be a centre of excellence for dementia care at Walton hospital, specialist rehab beds and an increase in care at home teams.

Read More





Staffordshire:  23,000-name petition to save Leek's Moorlands Hospital receives unanimous support

A total of 168 community hospital beds have now been closed at Cheadle, Bradwell, Longton and Haywood community hospitals, and a consultation on their long-term future is due to take place in the coming months.   Leek councillor Charlotte Atkins, who seconded the proposal, said: "If you go into Leek today you would think there is some sort of festival; so many houses have got posters in the window with a red cross and a white background saying Save Leek Hospital.  It's the sort of hospital that people regard not just as a hospital, but an important part of community life. This is not just about beds, but all other facilities."  

Read more




Dorset:  MP Chris Chope backs Friends group in bid to save St Leonards hospital


Chris Chope MP is pulling out all the stops in an effort to save St Leonards Hospital from closure.  The MP for Christchurch questioned Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Steve Brine in the House of Commons recently, asking why the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in its clinical services review is proposing to close the community hospital when it gives a good service and is approved by the community.”

“I am going to introduce a Private Members Bill at the next session calling for such decisions to be subject to a local referendum. I am concerned about the accountability of the members of the CCG, who are self appointed.”  Read more




Somerset: 1,500 sign petition as fears over Chard Hospital ward grow


NEARLY 1,500 people have signed a petition calling on Somerset Partnership not to close Chard Hospital’s inpatient facilities after trust executives revealed it is considering the move.  Read more




Devon Red Line Day - Local People Support their Community Hospitals

1st April 2017 

Across Devon, local people wore red and formed a human red line around their hospitals.  The"red line" was in response to the local NHS saying that there is no red line. The protest was arranged for April Fools day, with the theme,"Don't fool with our local NHS."



Campaigners across Devon formed human 'red lines' around hospitals today to protest against Government cuts to health services and protect the county's hospitals. They said that lives are at risk if cuts of £550m from Devon's health spending go ahead.


Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) Devon is co-ordinating the public support across the county to oppose NHS England's Sustainability and Transformation Plan. Campaigners say that the plan, under the guise of providing a better service, will in reality mean a cut of £550m from Devon's health spending.


In East Devon, there were protests at Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Seaton, Exeter's Whipton and RD&E hospitals and Okehampton.  In North Devon there were marches at Ilfracombe, Torrington, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple.


Read more


This report from Honiton:

"The people of Honiton came out in force today to protest against the closure of  all the medical ward beds. There was a sea of red as over 350 people walked through the town to form a human red line around the hospital. West Country TV news filmed the whole event and interviewed many of the protestors including the Chairman of Honiton Hospital League of Friends. Town and District Councillors and MP Neil Parish all came along to show support and a small group presented bunches of flowers to staff on duty on behalf of everyone present.


With public support high for challenging the closures, the League of Friends is in discussion with lawyers about the potential of seeking a Judicial Review of the decision to close all the beds.  In one week nearly £25k has been raised by the town towards legal fees with a cheque for £10k coming from one local business Otter Garden Centre."






BJN Nurse of the Year 2017


Erin Bolton, who is Bereavement Care Lead Nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, has received the 2017 Nurse of the Year award presented by the British Journal of Nursing (BJN).


Mrs Bolton is the bereavement care nurse for Clitheroe Community Hospital, Pendle Community Hospital and Accrington Victoria Community Hospital as well as the larger general hospitals.


Link to the article







Devon Scrutiny Committee Require Assurances on Proposed Closures of Community Hospital Bed 


Councillor Claire Wright put forward a proposal that the Devon CCG provides assurances to the Scrutiny committee on 14 areas of concern. 


"Following today’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee meeting 14 assurances will now need to be provided by the CCG on its decision within 28 days, which the committee will examine in its new form after the elections on 4 May.   If the assurances are insufficient or inadequate, the decision to close 72 beds will be referred to the Secretary of State for Health."


The committee was concerned that the consultation was flawed, and wanted assurances that no beds were to be closed before there was sufficient alternative provision.


For details of the debate and the requirements follow this link  




33000 people sign petition to try and save Leek Hospital


Concerned staff have been called in for talks with their bosses over the future of a hospital - as 33,000 people sign a petition to try to keep it open.   NHS leaders have held discussions with workers amid rumours that Leek Moorlands Hospital could shut by September.


The start of the CCGs' 12-week consultation has been delayed until May 8. But the delay means 64 beds at Bradwell Hospital – which are due to close in March – will already be shut by the time the review starts. It comes as all beds have been closed at Longton Cottage Hospital and Cheadle Hospital and one ward has been mothballed at Burslem's Haywood Hospital.


North Staffordshire Healthwatch co-ordinator Ian Syme:"In May, the reality is that 169 community hospital beds will have already have been shut without any consultation.  This whole process is in disrepute and disarray. The CCGs have done this before all forms of consultation and I'm appalled."  Link to article 



Devon community hospitals: 72 beds will be lost


Health authorities have confirmed that inpatient facilities at four community hospitals in Devon are to close.


A total of 72 beds will be lost at Honiton, Okehampton, Seaton and Exeter Whipton Hospitals. But Sidmouth Hospital is to get some extra bed provision.  Link to article




Petition to save beds at Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital


The petition, demanding that Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital is not made ‘bedless’ has been created on the website:


Mr Utting said that upon reading the STP, he was concerned that beds in community hospitals across the county could be cut over the next five years.


He added that with the cuts, there is the fear that some community hospitals could face closure.   “I think it’s so wrong,” Mr Utting told the Gazette. He said that the community hospitals provide a great halfway house for people who need looking after when they are still too ill to return home after a stay in Hereford County Hospital.  He added that when a relative is moved to a community hospital from the county hospital, friends and relatives will find it easier to visit them, the costs of travel to Hereford and parking costs outside the hospital can be “astronomical.”   He added: “I want to see the Community Hospital expanded and embrace technology to allow more patients to be treated locally.”  Link to article 




Future of inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital to be debated in House of Commons


Future of inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital to be debated in House of Commons Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan in the House of Commons. JAMES WILLOUGHBY Email 12:06Thursday 02 March 2017 0 HAVE YOUR SAY 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.

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.  Link to article 



POLITICIANS and campaigners have raised concerns over the future of health services in Bicester under sweeping plans to 'transform' the NHS in Oxfordshire.


Richard Mould, the leader of Bicester Town Council, said:"While the status of Oxfordshire’s community hospitals will not be consulted upon until phase two of the consultation, we are concerned that the outcomes determined in phase one may impact phase two, and that in turn might have a detrimental effect on healthcare in Bicester."


"We have already seen the closure of Wantage Community Hospital. I do not want the same outcome for Bicester.  We have a brilliant healthcare facility right on our doorstep. This needs to be protected and enhanced."

Link to article 




Community Asset Listing for Cheadle


Campaigners have won their fight to have a hospital building listed as a community asset.   The group stepped in to try and make sure Cheadle Hospital remains in community hands.


It comes as a controversial review into the future of North Staffordshire's community hospitals has been delayed for three months.  NHS leaders revealed the 12-week consultation has been 'paused' until May 8.  The decision was blamed on the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election and May's Staffordshire County Council elections.


Campaigners say there are concerns about the long term future of the hospital.  Link to article 




Health bosses say hospital beds are not the answer to NHS's problems in Staffordshire

NHS bosses say the health service  in Staffordshire needs to move away from bed-based care to ensure it is sustainable in the future.  Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent's controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) recommends that dozens of community hospital beds remain closed, to help plug a projected £542 million funding gap.


The STP recommends that community beds at Longton Cottage Hospital and Cheadle Hospital remain closed, along with 20 beds at Burslem's Haywood Hospital. But the plan does not mention the beds at Bradwell or Leek Moorlands.  Link to article 




£1.3m scheme unveiled to develop health services at Fareham Community Hospital

A £1.3M scheme has been unveiled by health chiefs to develop and improve health services in a Hampshire town. Fareham and Gosport  Clinical Commissioning Group has revealed plans to invest and bring in more services to Fareham Community Hospital.


It is part of a two-year pilot scheme after it was found that only 62% of the total capacity was being used by current health services.  Now, under the two-year pilot, the CCG will double the occupancy rate at the hospital and will provide more enhanced services including an enhanced GP facility and a minor injury facility.  Link to article  




CHA Report to NEW Devon CCG


Read the CHA Report responding to the consultation and the Executive Summary


NEW Devon CCG proposes that only 3 of their 12 community hospitals have inpatient beds, and that the number of beds reduces from 143 to 72.


The CHA Report responding to the consultation proposals has been shared widely, and has been submitted by campaign groups with their documents to help support their case.



More calls for axing of Devon community hospital beds to stop on last day of consultation


Today marks the end of a consultation over where 72 community hospital beds will be axed in Devon – but numerous calls have instead been made for the proposals to be dropped.


The Your Future Care consultation was launched in October by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) to determine which one of four proposals it will adopt to close beds within the Exeter and East Devon area.    Hospital at risk of losing beds are in Whipton, Seaton, Exmouth, and Sidmouth. In the options Tiverton hospital will definitely remain open. Honiton and Okehampton have not been included in the options so will close.


The Community Hospitals Association (CHA) is against the plans to reduce beds across Eastern Devon, and in particular opposes having only three of the 12 hospitals with beds.   It has also criticised the proposals as containing inaccurate information and there not being enough evidence to back the dismantling of valued rural services.


Dr Helen Tucker, vice president of the Community Hospitals Association, said: "The CHA proposes a pause in the process, to allow for corrections and clarifications, consider more evidence from research and evaluations, undertake a genuine consideration of invited alternative options, and carry out further planning with each of the affected communities."


Also against the proposals is Devon County Councillor Claire Wright who said "I don't believe that the there is evidence to support the move as being positive or safe for patients, nor do I believe that it will save money.


Express & Echo 7th Jan 2017  Read more 



Hospital bed closures in Devon will be a"huge risk"


Health campaigners claim community hospital bed closures are a"huge risk to take" ahead of the end of a consultation to axe 72 beds in Devon. After a detailed examination of the Your Future Care (YFC) proposals, 38 Degrees and Keep our NHS Public (KONP) say NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) fails to make a case for its plan to close community hospitals and replace them with care in the community. They claim the proposals are insupportable and carry greater risk and uncertainty than the CCG acknowledges. Read more




Past News 

News stories that have been posted on the CHARM website are available to download in a pdf document


News Items Jan 17

News Items Sept 2016