12:20pm Sunday 25th August 2013
INPATIENT beds have been returned to Northwich after a long-standing campaign in the community.
Eight intermediate care beds have been set up at Leftwich Green, with more beds planned for both Northwich and Winsford in the winter.
Campaigners have been fighting for beds to be brought back to the town since the inpatients unit at Victoria Infirmary Northwich (VIN) was closed in May 2010 when wards failed electrical tests.
A spokesman for NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said “We know how important it is for local people to have access to services either in their home, or close to their home.
“We intend to provide appropriate numbers of intermediate care beds in Northwich and have spent time looking at how best to do this alongside Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust, the local authority and East Cheshire Trust (who provide community services).
“For this year, we have a pot of non-recurrent money that we would like to invest in increasing intermediate care services across Vale Royal.
“In addition to Elmhurst Intermediate Care Service based in Winsford, this year we have commissioned eight intermediate care beds at Leftwich Green in Northwich.
“We are now working on plans to open an extra 12 beds in Vale Royal – six in the Winsford area and six in the Northwich area – ready for this winter.
“This will be a pilot service which will be evaluated in the Spring of 2014.”
Save Our Northwich Inpatients Campaign (SONIC) fought for beds to be brought back to Northwich because of the difficulty for patients and their visitors travelling to and from Leighton Hospital, in Crewe.
The group was initially set up in 2006 when VIN’s wards were first threatened with closure.
Liam Byrne, from SONIC, said: “This is fantastic news.
“The beds will be for intermediate care, which means step up or step down care, and means unblocking beds at Leighton and patients coming back to Northwich.”
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