Agenda item

Aneurin Bevan University Hospital board: Chepstow Hospital - dementia ward (Claire Marchant)


The Chair provided an overview to date of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s (ABUHB) decision to close the dementia ward at Chepstow Hospital (as per the minutes of the previous meeting).  It was added that a meeting was held at St. Cadoc’s Hospital at which the public were invited to attend but no questions or comments were allowed.  The decision had already been made as it was reported in the press the following day.


It was reported that Cabinet Member Councillor P. Jones responded to a question at County Council with deep disappointment that the decision is not in the best interests of the most vulnerable people in Monmouthshire adding that the Health Board had declined a request to attend Council to explain its position but will attend a Select Committee.   She also announced that the Health Board has passed an investment of £200,000 pa for work in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council and other partners to develop an integrated model of support for older people with mental health needs.  A meeting is scheduled soon to explore areas that would benefit from additional funding. It was questioned if there are restrictions on what the money can be spent on.


A member of the public commented that she was disgusted with ABUHB recalling the removal of the Minor Injuries Unit and stating that the cost of transforming the normal ward to a dementia ward would have been considerable. She accused the Health Board of not listening.


Members of the Committee expressed their concern that the Committee, at its last meeting, had been advised by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) that there would be no closure of the dementia ward only to hear a few days later that closure was proposed which would result in no in-patient care in this area.  The replacement provision is in hospitals that are too distant from the Chepstow area.  Members were sceptical that the proposed care within the community would be of a good enough standard.


It was suggested, regarding the future of Chepstow Hospital more generally, if an assessment of need would provide evidence to argue the position with the Health Board.  It was also queried if the legality of the decision had been questioned.


The Chair concurred that the terms and conditions of the funding need to be explicit, and legally checked. A Member observed that every councillor was against the proposed closure when discussed at Select Committee and Council adding that the response from the Health Board was disappointing.  It was commented that it was probably a legal decision.


It was noted that it is a matter for the Chair of the appropriate Select Committee to decide if the meeting at which the ABUHB attend should be made open to all councillors and members of the public.


**11.00am - Meeting adjourned for One Minute’s Silence to commemorate ANZAC Day**


It was remarked that the strength of public feeling about this matter will make a difference and that there must be a campaign to fight for more inpatient and outpatient services based at Chepstow Hospital. It was questioned how this issue fits into the Social Justice Strategy. 


Councillor P. Molyneux (representing Forest of Dean Council and Gloucestershire County Council) expressed concern about cross border issues citing similar issues with Dilke Memorial and Lydney Hospitals.  He suggested that contact was made to share ideas and combine efforts with the campaign group to save these hospitals (HOLD). 


A member of the public recommended a very careful look at the whole situation including finances, commenting that the dementia ward staff have been very stressed and registrars have left.  It was, however, suggested that an out patients drop in facility would be useful. 


The following statement was provided for the Committee by ABUHB:


“Chepstow Hospital – Dementia Ward


Following the end of the three month public consultation on the redesign of Older Adult Mental Health Services, the Health Board considered a report on the outcome of the consultation at its meeting on 21 March 2018.


The report recommended that there should be additional investment in community services to support older adults with mental health problems and also recommended the consolidation in the number of inpatient units to three dementia units and one functional mental health unit across the Health Board.


The Board supported the recommendations and also agreed an additional investment of £200,000 to improve Older Adult Mental Health Community services in Monmouthshire.  It was confirmed that the dementia ward (St Pierre) at Chepstow Community Hospital would close as a result of the agreed changes due to serious staffing shortages and on the advice of senior clinicians, and the ward closed on 9 April 2018.”