Push to reopen Wharfedale Hospital ward for elderly

Ilkley Gazette: Councillor Sandy Lay outside Otley's Wharfedale Hospital Councillor Sandy Lay outside Otley's Wharfedale Hospital

Health bosses are being urged to reopen a ward for the elderly at Wharfedale Hospital.

Otley Town and ward Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) says the move is needed to ensure local residents receive good care closer to home.

Otley’s hospital closed its remaining elderly ward in 2011 after Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had deemed it surplus to requirements.

Many residents at the time, led by the Support Wharfedale Hospital campaign, had called on the Trust to think again – and Coun Lay is writing to them to repeat that plea.

He said: “Recently the wife of an elderly disabled patient living in Otley contacted me to let me know that her husband had been offered rehabilitation in the Bradford area.

“When they refused they were then offered a bed in Wetherby. Eventually the hospital got the patient home but not before his wife had had to endure a number of unnecessary journey’s into and out of Leeds.

“Delays in discharge have also been shown to increase risks of bed sores, falls and of catching infections whilst delays cost enormous amounts of money and have the knock-on effect of frequently delaying admission to hospital from A&E departments or GPs for those who need it.

“I know the Trust will say older people no longer expect rehab to be delivered in hospital but I also know, from my casework and experience, that this is just one view.

“A number of rehab wards exist in ‘non acute’ hospitals locally, including at Seacroft, Ripon and St Luke’s Hospital, in Bradford, and it’s about time the Trust admitted they’d got it wrong when they closed the ward and just reopened it.”

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