Campaigners step up care ward bid at Airedale Hospital

The Rev David Griffiths, of Silsden, who is chairman of the Ward 24 Carers Action Group

The Rev David Griffiths, of Silsden, who is chairman of the Ward 24 Carers Action Group

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Campaigners are stepping up their fight to keep a specialist dementia care ward at Airedale Hospital.

An action group is opposing plans to shift Ward 24 to Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford.

Members will meet Bradford District Care Trust bosses on Monday to discuss the issue.

And the group has launched an online petition at change.org/en-GB/petitions/simon-large-to-keep-ward-24-open objecting to the proposals. It has so far attracted more than 50 signatures, and a paper petition has been signed by a further 90 people.

Names will also be collected and information handed out during a day of action outside Keighley Market Hall in Low Street, between 10am and 1pm on March 1.

The care trust aims to save £300,000 by relocating the ward, But opponents say the move would leave some people in the catchment area facing a 90-mile round trip to access the services.

Ward 24 Carers Action Group chairman, the Reverend David Griffiths, of Silsden, said: “The area stretches right up into the Yorkshire Dales.

“People living in villages such as Grassington already face a long journey, and if they don’t have their own transport, that involves multiple buses. If they had to travel all the way to Lynfield Mount, it would be a nightmare.

“We are very concerned about the proposals and the effect they will have on people, and I’m pleased with the support we’ve received so far from councillors and others.

“We’re talking with the care trust, which is encouraging. I hope we will be listened to.”

The trust says moving Ward 24 to a purpose-built facility at Lynfield Mount Hospital by Spring 2015 is part of a wider plan to transform older people’s care.

Bosses argue the new unit would provide 22 private bedrooms, with some en-suite facilities, and would offer a bespoke space for people living with dementia.

Deputy chief executive Nicola Lees added: “We estimate we will save about £300,000, and some of this money will be re-invested into improving staffing levels in both our inpatient wards and community services.”

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