Hospital patients moved out of town

Cavendish Hospital, Buxton
Cavendish Hospital, Buxton

Severe staffing problems have led to the temporary closure of one of Buxton’s last remaining hospital wards.

Patients on the Spencer Ward at Cavendish Hospital, which cares for older people with mental health problems, have been transferred to the Riverside Ward at Newholme Ward in Bakewell.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which runs Cavendish Hospital as well as Buxton Hospital, said that problems with staffing meant managers had no option but to bring together the services provided on the Spencer Ward with those in Bakewell.

But the trust has reassured locals that the decision is only temporary, and will not lead to another health service being lost from the town, which has already seen the closure of both the Corbar Birth Centre and the Johnson Ward at Buxton Hospital, the last remaining operational ward at the hospital.

William Jones, Director of Operations with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “This temporary relocation is a result of sustained staffing pressures on Spencer Ward at Cavendish Hospital and is in the interests of patient safety.

“We are addressing the staffing situation as a priority and are absolutely committed to the provision of healthcare services in Buxton.

“We expect this change to be for a minimum three-month period.”

The trust informed key stakeholders about their decision last Tuesday, with patients being moved last Friday, February 14.

But High Peak MP Andrew Bingham has criticised the short timescale, saying he was annoyed to find out about the plans with just three days notice.

“I wrote to the trust straight away expressing my annoyance that I’d not been given any more notice,” he said. “I’ve asked for an urgent meeting as soon as possible to discuss this.

“My worry is that three months might lead to something more permanent.”