A KEY meeting on the future of Giggleswick's Casleberg Hospital was taking place today.

It is expected to lead to a further three month consultation on two possible options - closure of the hospital with more care at home or repairing and restoring the existing building to bring it back into use.

Health chiefs have rejected any possibility of a possible brand new facility on cost grounds. 

The governing body of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will discuss the proposals today to launch the consultation on community services for adults – whether in hospital or in people’s own homes.

In April, one of these services – a 10-bedded ward at Castleberg Hospital – was temporarily withdrawn on safety grounds following ongoing issues with the power supply, heating and drainage.

Since then additional community services (including inpatient beds in local care homes) have been provided to ensure that everyone’s health and care needs have been met. These also include services at the main acute hospital sites in Steeton and Lancaster. To extend their role as part of the community team, Castleberg’s nursing team has provided additional support to patients in their own homes.

The CCG engaged with local people in August and September to find out what matters to them, what they need from services and the best ways of consulting them. The feedback from this engagement helped the CCG to plan the forthcoming consultation, and informed the two options on which the consultation is based.

These are: Option 1: continue to provide inpatient care in the community and repair/restore Castleberg Hospital.

Option 2: provide an enhanced range of care in people’s home or in an alternative community setting (determined by need), and close Castleberg Hospital.

A third option – to build a new facility – was discounted on the grounds of cost and, subject to agreement by the governing body tomorrow, will not form part of the consultation. The CCG has already agreed that options one and two are viable in terms of quality of care and financial sustainability.