DODDINGTON:Health chiefs say future of hospital could well be up to YOU!

AN extraordinary moment in health care provision has been reached in Fenland as Cambridgeshire NHS pin points the cost- £900,000 a year- of expanding Doddington Hospital. Creating a stand alone 10 bed intermediate care unit – to act as a bridge between ho

AN extraordinary moment in health care provision has been reached in Fenland as Cambridgeshire NHS pin points the cost- £900,000 a year- of expanding Doddington Hospital.

Creating a stand alone 10 bed intermediate care unit - to act as a bridge between hospital and home for recovering patients- is one of four options now open to the public to debate.

The 26 page 'Listening Exercise' launched this week, and which runs through until November 14, offers the real possibility of money being found to provide the unit if public demand merits it.

NHS chiefs are determined that the future of Doddington- and the future of the health service in South Fenland- must be shaped by the views of its 40,000 residents.

And they are also expecting public response to focus on the needs of the elderly since by 2021 there will have been a 35 per cent increase in people aged over 75.

"This population growth and ageing presents a complex set of challenges and we need to plan now for how we commission services to meet these challenges," says Vinny Logan, executive nurse in charge of the consultation.

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She said GPs and patients and other representatives have been meeting for months to consider the health needs of South Fenland residents and agreed "the focus of change" should concentrate on the over 65s.

Ms Logan says once this initial exercise ends, plans will be formulated for a more formal consultation early next year but experience has shown "such initiatives have historically resulted in consultations options being more soundly based on the needs and views of local residents."

Four options - including the £900,000 a year new unit- are up for discussion and whilst one of the others involves retaining the status quo of no inpatient beds at Doddington, the other two also involve intermediate bed care provision.

One option would provide the 10 beds for frail elderly within an extra care facility at Doddington- costing £493,000 a year- whilst the other would scatter the beds throughout South Fenland in existing nursing homes. This option would cost £475,000 a year.

HOW YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS

1: On line by going to www.cambridgeshire.nhs.uk and going to 'current consultations' and then looking for 'South Fenland Review.'

2: Writing to Susan Last, Head of Public Engagement and PALS, Freepost, ANG 10722, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB1 5YB

3: Emailing southfenlandlistening@cambridgeshire.nhs.uk

4: Attending a public meeting. These will be on October 9 from 3pm to 5.30pm at Emmanuel Church, East Park Street, Chatteris; October 14 from 9.30am to 11.30am at St Peter's Church, March; October 27 at Doddington Village Hall from 3pm to 5.30pm; October 29 at Chatteris Library from 6pm to 8.30pm.

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