A DECISION to refurbish and reopen Castleberg Hospital in Giggleswick has been welcomed by Skipton MP Julian Smith.

Yesterday (Tuesday), a meeting of the governing body of the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Settle voted unanimously to keep the ten bed hospital open.

He said: “I am pleased to hear that the governing body has made the decision to keep the hospital open, this reflects the feeling of many of the constituents who have contacted me and I am delighted that I was able to represent their views in conversations and meetings with the CCG. I pay tribute to the many residents and community groups who engaged so fully with the consultation process.”

Tuesday’s meeting, attended by many residents and supporters of the hospital, heard CCG governors discuss the future of community care services in Craven. It followed a public consultation which took place from November to February this year.

Dr James Thomas, GP and clinical chairman at NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG said: “The governing body carefully considered the views expressed in the public consultation, the rural geography of the local area, the safety of patients, the high quality of care required and the recommendation of the CCG’s Clinical Executive Group.The decision was taken to support the recommendation of the CCG’s Clinical Executive Group which was to continue to provide inpatient care in the community and repair and restore Castleberg Hospital but in a redesigned way that will be determined with the involvement of the local community."

He added: “This is an exciting opportunity that will see services evolve from what has gone before, moving towards a more holistic approach that will care for both the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. The future model of care that will be provided throughout Craven will aim to integrate services closer to patients’ homes and will include Castleberg Hospital acting as a community-based facility, with the option to provide a broader range of support services.”

Dr Thomas urged people to get involved in the future development of Castleberg to ensure it contributed to their health and wellbeing.

“We look forward to working together to ensure it includes services which complement those already provided and offers a solution fit for the future.

“Over 1,600 people took part in the public consultation and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and ideas. I hope the people of Craven will continue to work closely with us to help shape care services and I would like to encourage anyone interested in getting involved to join the Craven Community Group.”

Castleberg Hospital was closed a year ago because of safety concerns following on going issues with its power supply, heating and drainage.