Wanstead Hospital to close as CCGs agree to cut intermediate care beds

Sally Edwards with her petition to keep Wanstead Hospital's Heronwood and Galleon wards open in Snar

Sally Edwards with her petition to keep Wanstead Hospital's Heronwood and Galleon wards open in Snaresbrook, London on September 16, 2014. Photo: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

Plans to close Wanstead Hospital have been given the go-ahead by health commissioners despite a 5,000 signature petition against the proposal.

Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs met in Becketts House, Ilford Lane, Ilford, this afternoon over the proposals, which will see the number of intermediate care beds across the boroughs cut from 104 to 40 – with an extra 21 available if needed.

The beds – which provide rehabilitation for patients after operations and illness – will be replaced by community treatment teams (CTTs) who will see people in their own homes.

At the meeting, the CCGs presented their decision-making business plan, drawn up following a public consultation, recommending pushing ahead with the plans to close Wanstead Hospital’s Heronwood and Galleon wards and Gray’s Court in Dagenham, with a centralised unit at King George Hospital.

But residents said it was “madness” to close the wards in the face of an ageing and growing population.

Campaigner Sally Edwards, who is a carer for two elderly relatives, said the units needed to be there to give people the chance to rehabilitate instead of going into a nursing home.

In a video played at the meeting, Dr Gurdev Saini, clinical director of Havering CCG, said the CTTs – which have been piloted for the past year – had treated more than 10,000 patients, compared to 1,300 which would have been cared for in hospital.

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He said most residents responding to the consultation believed “the care people get is more of a priority than the buildings they are cared for in”.

The meeting also heard the readmission rates for Foxglove ward at King George’s were lower than both Wanstead and Gray’s Court.

Cathy Turland, chief executive officer of Redbridge Healthwatch, said she was “bitterly disappointed” the body’s report had not been recognised in the plan.

She said the group was worried about the impact on carers and relatives, with the CTTs only running up until 10pm at night.

“The feedback we are getting is there are major concerns on the impact and struggle that carers have in supporting loved ones at home when rehabilitation is only being offered up to 10pm at night.”