Plans to close hospital ward

Harrogate District Hospital. 101020M1a.

Harrogate District Hospital. 101020M1a.

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Plans are in place to close a ward at Harrogate Hospital, freeing up funds to improve community health services in the district.

Harrogate District Foundation Trust’s Janet Probert told a committee of local councillors the hospital usually runs at between 80 and 85 percent occupancy, meaning up to 30 beds lay empty.

Hospital managers now want to “consolidate” the empty beds over the summer and close a ward, she said.

“We need to start working in a way that supports us being able to put more services into the community. We will still be providing all the acute services, we are just trying to be more efficient.”

The trust’s Medical Director Dr Carl Gray also spoke at the meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s Scrutiny of Health Committee.

He told councillors the hospital will keep two ward spaces ready to reopen if the need arises, and said closing one ward would make Harrogate Hospital “more efficient”.

After the meeting chairman Coun Jim Clark said he was happy with the cuts in principle.

“I am alright with these closures as long as there is a proper alternative,” he said.

“A report published last year said we had to lose 200 beds across North Yorkshire so people could be treated more at home and in the community. We need to make sure the facilities are available for people to be treated. We need proper health facilities and integrated services of the county council’s social services and health services.”