Ward will be lost in shake-up of hospital site

A WARD of intermediate care beds at Hemel Hempstead Hospital will be axed under a shake-up of the site.

The 20-bed ward provides care for people recovering from operations and strokes who are too frail to go straight home.

Health bosses say more people will be cared for at home while care beds will still be provided ‘where there is a need’ in facilities ‘close to home’.

Betty Harris, chairman of Dacorum Hospital Action Group, said: “Where are they going to be?

“It’s all very well saying you will get intermediate care in the home but they need staff to go round and deal with people.

“When people are coming out of hospital for rehabilitation after a stroke or operation they need care 24 hours a day, not someone popping in for an hour or two a day.

“It’s working now, what’s wrong with it?”

Under options being presented to NHS Herts Primary Care Trust next month, the hospital will be either rebuilt or refurbished.

The facility will house outpatient services, including fracture clinic and sexual health clinic, day treatment centre, diagnostics and the urgent care centre.

The potential for new buildings on the site has been discussed since 2009 when A&E and other services were controversially closed.

Susan Haigh, communications manager at the trust, said: “Our strategy for delivering intermediate care services across the county focuses on working with GPs, community health and social care services to ensure more people can be looked after in their own homes.

“Where there is a need for someone to go into an intermediate care bed, we want to ensure beds are provided in more locations across the county so people can be looked after close to home, and in facilities which will enable them to regain the skills they need to keep living independently.

“There will continue to be intermediate care beds within the Hemel Hempstead area as there are now, but we recognise that the local general hospital is not the ideal location for them.”