Following a recent public consultation, a paper into the future of community health services in the Ashby area was presented to the boards of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and pays for local health services, and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), which provides community health services.
The boards were asked to review the outcome of the consultation and make a decision regarding future models of care and the future of Ashby and District Hospital.
The public consultation was based on two options and a report was presented to members of both boards called Fit for Future: Community Health Services in Ashby, focussing on how the local NHS might best meet the long-term health needs of people living in and around Ashby.
During the public meetings held today, both boards agreed to move services out of Ashby and District Hospital to other local places, to increase the range of community health services and provide more care in people’s homes. Ultimately, this will mean that Ashby and District Hospital will close to inpatients and clinics and outpatient services will be moved to other local places. The CCG board made it clear that they wanted to see a sharpening of the conditions that form a key element of the decision and these will be presented back to the CCG public board on 10 June.
The CCG and LPT have already been developing other forms of care outside hospital. They have set up a new “virtual ward” – a service that co-ordinates care and aims to stop people having to go into hospital, when avoidable.
LPT has also developed home-based “intensive community support” services that aim to look after people at home following discharge from hospital at an earlier stage. Both these new services provide a range of hospital-style support to patients in their own home or in a care home.
Rachel Bilsborough, Divisional Director of Community Health Services at LPT said: “Work will begin immediately on developing plans for more modern, co-ordinated health services that will allow a growing number of patients to be treated in their own homes, or to leave hospital earlier. A new night assessment service is already being set up to help avoid unnecessary emergency hospital admissions.
“Both ourselves and the CCG would like to reassure people that closure will not take place until the 16 in-patient beds have been phased out and outpatient services and teams have moved to suitable alternative local accommodation.
Commenting for the CCG, Dr Nick Willmott, GP and clinical lead during the consultation said: “It is vital that we always involve patients and the public in the development of local health services, and on behalf of the CCG and LPT I would like to thank the people of Ashby for their invaluable input during the consultation. We will continue to inform and engage with the local community as we start work on the next stage of this process.”