Union’s fears on dementia ward at Conquest

UNION officials have reacted strongly to proposals to close two dementia wards.

Unison fears patients will have to travel further for specialist care.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) covering East Sussex are currently consulting on the provision of beds provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the admission and assessment of people with dementia.

Proposals include a bed reduction or a closure of St Gabriel’s Ward at the Conquest Hospital or Beechwood Ward in Uckfield or leaving things as they are.

Nick McMaster, Unison Sussex Partnership branch communications officer, said: “Closure of either ward is likely to mean frail patients and relatives having to travel significantly further to receive specialist inpatient care. We are concerned a vital service is going to be dismantled in the chase for financial savings disguised as new models of care.” Amanda Philpott, chief operating officer of Hastings and Rother CCG said: “For dementia patients, an unfamiliar environment such as a hospital can add to their confusion. It’s no surprise that patients and clinicians prefer community-based services.”