There are no plans to close Biggleswade Hospital at the moment.
That was the message from Diane Gray from the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG), who spoke at a Biggleswade Town Council meeting on Tuesday (October 9).
Mrs Gray was invited to give a talk and answer questions from councillors and members of the public.
The BCCG plans, organises and purchases NHS-funded healthcare for people living in the county.
The organisation has been conducting a review of health services in Beds and neighbouring counties, including hospital care.
Councillors and visitors were sceptical about the claims that the hospital will not be closed.
Councillor Bernard Briars asked about widespread reports of bed-blocking at the hospital.
He said: “SEPT, the care provider at Biggleswade Hospital is commissioned to provide care for 20 patients, so it does seem strange that currently only six beds are occupied.”
Mrs Gray said the issue with the empty beds was down to SEPT’s staffing problems.
But Mr Briars said: “If that is the case then why are many of the staff being sent to units in Bedford and other places?”
Mrs Gray said the BCCG had been looking at the best way of providing care for a rapidly ageing population.
She said: “Caring for patients at home in a less intensive, acute environment is always preferable to them staying in hospital and can certainly aid recovery.”
But Councillor Jane Lawrence said there were not enough district nurses to provide that level of care, and that patients often end up being looked after by relatives instead.
It was also confirmed that the hospital site is to be given to the Department of Health and that there are no plans to sell it.
Councillors agreed to invite Mrs Gray back when the full results of the review are available and can be reported back.
What do you think of the present situation? Email your views to letters@ biggleswadechronicle.co.uk
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Weather for Biggleswade
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
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Wind direction: West
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