Doubts have been raised that 20 hospital beds destined for Fleetwood in the wake of the Rossall Hospital closure announcement may not come to the town after all.
Many people in the town believed that the 20 nurse-led beds – cases not serious enough to warrant a consultant – would be made available at Fleetwood Hospital after 40-bed Rossall closes in August.
But there is now confusion about what is to happen, with both the town’s League of Friends and Fleetwood Town Council raising concerns Fleetwood Hospital will not be used to accommodate the 20 beds for the elderly.
If that is the case, it raises further concerns about the future of “under-used” Fleetwood Hospital itself.
The NHS says there are no plans to discontinue any other community services, other than the closure of Rossall.
John Eastwood, chairman of the League of Friends of Rossall and Fleetwood Hospitals, told the Weekly News: “During the consultation process into the future of Rossall Hospital, we were told 20 nurse-led beds would be coming to the North Fylde. Many people, myself included, took that to mean they would be based at Fleetwood.
“The hospital there is purpose-built, it is now empty of wards and would be the perfect place. However, we are hearing all sorts of stories that these 20 beds may not be coming to the town at all.
“If that is true, then we are obviously concerned about it. That would mean there are no rehab facilities left in Fleetwood at all, which is worrying and just not good enough. We are trying to seek clarity on this.”
Fleetwood Town Council has echoed those concerns. Coun Alan Marsh, chairman, said: “Those beds need to come to Fleetwood Hospital, firstly because this town needs to have some rehab places for local people, rather than relatives having to travel. Secondly, Fleetwood Hospital is now only 20 per cent used. That can’t go on, and raises questions over its future. People needing minor treatment like hearing tests are already being directed to Blackpool Victoria and not Fleetwood.”
A spokesman for Blackpool NHS Trust said: “Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently In discussion with Fleetwood Town Council, and others, around improving community services as part of the review of older people’s rehab Services. A range of options are being considered. There are no plans to discontinue community services in Fleetwood other than the transfer of rehab services to Clifton Hospital.”