Petition launched against Airedale Hospital dementia ward closure

Craven Herald: CONCERNED: Rev David Griffiths, of Silsden, chairman of the Ward 24 Carers Action Group CONCERNED: Rev David Griffiths, of Silsden, chairman of the Ward 24 Carers Action Group

Campaigners are stepping up their fight to keep a specialist dementia care ward at Airedale Hospital, Steeton.

An action group is opposing plans to shift Ward 24 to Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford.

Members will meet Bradford District Care Trust bosses on Monday to discuss the issue.

An online petition has been set up which has so far attracted over 50 signatures. A paper petition has been signed by a further 90.

Names will also be collected and information handed out during a day of action outside Keighley Market Hall, Low Street, on Saturday, March 1, between 10am and 1pm.

The care trust aims to save £300,000 by relocating the ward.

Opponents say the move would leave some people in the catchment area facing a 90-mile round trip to access the services.

The Rev David Griffiths, chairman of the Ward 24 Carers Action Group, said: “The area stretches right up into the Yorkshire Dales. People living in villages such as Grassington already face a long journey, and if they don’t have their own transport that involves multiple buses. If they had to travel all the way to Lynfield Mount it would be a nightmare.

“We are very concerned about the proposals and the effect they will have on people, and I’m pleased with the support we’ve received so far from councillors and others.

“We’re talking with the care trust, which is encouraging. I hope we will be listened to.”

The trust says moving Ward 24 to a purpose-built facility at Lynfield Mount Hospital by spring 2015 is part of a wider plan to transform older people’s care.

It said the new unit would provide 22 private bedrooms, with some en-suite facilities, and would offer a bespoke space for people living with dementia.

Deputy chief executive Nicola Lees said: “We estimate we will save about £300,000 and some of this money will be re-invested into improving staffing levels in both our inpatient wards and community services.”

The petition can be found at at change.org/en-GB/ petitions/simon-large-to-keep-ward-24-open

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