Secretary of Health Asked to Intervene on Step-Down Hospital Beds

Chair of the Townlands Steering Group Committee, Councillor Ian Reissmann at the Town Council’s Town and Community Meeting this week said that he had written to John Howell MP asking him to write to the Secretary of Health to intervene using her recently acquired powers to ask the County Council and the Integrated Care Board (ICB) to review their decision on the closure of the step-down beds at Chilterns Court Care Home.

The short-stay hospital beds at Chilterns Court Care Home were closed at the end of last year by the ICB and OCC after a new strategy ‘Home First’ was agreed however no consultation with stakeholders including local GP surgeries who provided the care was carried out.  These beds are mainly used for people recovering from surgeries who are living on their own for a few weeks.  This has resulted in no step-down beds in South Oxfordshire, with the nearest beds available in Abingdon.

In November 2016 when the Chilterns Court Care Home opened on the site of the old Townlands hospital 11 beds were leased by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) for step up/step down care to replace those lost from the Peppard Ward.  In 2021, OCCG presented statistics to show that the four Rapid Care Access Unit beds were not being under used so these were closed, leaving 7 beds. This was reduced to 6 beds in November 2023.

The County Council have in recent weeks said they could close the remaining beds without consultation as they commissioned them and funded them and they are not NHS beds.  Only the closure of NHS beds requires a consultation.

Councillor Reissmann said, “We hope very much that the Secretary of Health will insist that they firstly insist on a consultation which is legal requirement and even better reverse the closure of the beds pending the consultation.  I am more optimistic about the first than the second. This should happen quite quickly as John Howell has said he has made that formal request.”



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