In its Better Care Closer to Home consultation document NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) states that people in Derbyshire are enjoying longer lives than ever before - and the number living into older age in need of care is rising.
And the NHS could be facing a financial shortfall of about £20bn by 2020-21 at local level across the country.
The CCG’s 21C#JoinedUpCare programme, currently subject of a public consultation, plans to address these problems by reducing the demand for community hospital beds and providing care in the community for older people receiving inpatient care and those with dementia.
Health bosses say that if the proposals were introduced, over time it would reduce the demand for community hospital beds.
This would then lead to the closure, over time, of Newholme hospital, with remaining outpatient services being relocated locally.
But campaigners from action groups Matlock Hospitals League of Friends - for the Oker Ward at Whitworth Hospital - and Save Newholme Hospital have criticised 21C#JoinedUpCare and question the quality of care which will replace the services currently provided by them.
Pam Wildgoose, of Matlock Hospitals League of Friends, said: “One of the proposals is to reduce the number of community beds in the area and open a rehabilitation ward of the same size as Oker Ward at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
“Chesterfield is the wrong place for a rehabilitation ward, particularly when there is already a first class one at the Whitworth Hospital.”
A spokesman for Save Newholme Hospital said many people felt confused or misled by the CCG’s consultation.
She added: “People are being told ‘it will be lovely, we will come and look after you in your home but it’s not like that.’
“There is no guarantee that people will be looked after by NHS staff and services won’t be farmed-out to private contractors.”
The spokesman, who preferred not to be named, said she feared elderly people with dementia would be at much greater risk being cared for in the community rather than in a hospital bed.
“People who have no family will be reliant on agency night workers,” she said.
A spokesman for North Derbyshire CCG said: “Better Care Closer to Home builds on existing examples of best practice to help deliver care that is truly designed around the individual.
“We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the proposal for Oker Ward is just one element of the public consultation and highlight that under the proposals put forward anyone that requires an inpatient bed will have access to one.”
The spokesman also stressed that the CCG was running a number of drop-in sessions to explain the proposals throughout September.
For more details of them visit www.joinedupcare.org.uk or phone or call 01246 514176.
Matlock Hospitals League of Friends will be leading a protest march against the proposals on September 24 at 10am, beginning with a speech at the Matlock Park Head.
At 10.30 am the march commences at Twiggs and at 11.15 am arrives at Whitworth Hospital for a presentation of petitions to NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups Representatives.
If you or someone you know could be affected by 21C#JoinedUpCare, Save Newholme Hospital will be holding a drop-in day at Bakewell Town Hall on September 12 between 10am-3pm. To access the consultation visit http://www.joinedupcare.org.uk/media/29282/better-care-consultation-online-version.pdf.