The formal consultation follows an engagement exercise which took place in the summer which asked local people to share their thoughts around what matters to them, what healthcare services they felt the local community needed and the best way to consult with them. The feedback from the engagement has been used to plan the consultation and has shaped the two options to be consulted on:
Option 1: continue to provide inpatient care in the community and repair and restore Castleberg Hospital.
Option 2: provide an enhanced range of care in people’s homes or in an alternative community setting (determined by their needs), and close Castleberg Hospital.
Castleberg Hospital was temporarily closed in April due to safety concerns following ongoing issues with the power supply, heating and drainage at the ten-bed Giggleswick site.
Since then additional community services (including inpatient beds in local care homes) have been provided to ensure the local community’s health and care needs have been met. These also include services at the main acute hospitals in Steeton and Lancaster. Castleberg’s nursing team has also extended its role as part of the community by providing additional support to patients in their own homes.
Dr James Thomas, clinical chair of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “As a family doctor working in Craven I understand the challenges that people can face when living in isolated rural communities. Personalising care to meet people’s own health needs and their family circumstances is an important part of ensuring that our services are fit for the future and suitable for the Craven community. We want local services to help people feel safe and supported in a familiar environment.
“I want to ensure as many people as possible take part in the consultation and share their thoughts on the two options proposed. I’d encourage everyone to get involved as their views will make a difference to the services that are offered in the future.”