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Last Updated: Monday, 12 September 2005, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Thousands oppose hospital closure
Fairwood Hospital
Fairwood Hospital could be mothballed in November
A 7,000-signature petition opposing plans to mothball a convalesence hospital in Swansea has been presented to health service managers.

Swansea NHS Trust is looking at cutting around 100 beds across all its hospitals in a plan to save 4.3m.

It says many of the patients at the 28 bed hospital could be cared for at alternative sites or even at home.

The local health board (LHB) put off making a decision on whether to support the closure in November.

Some members were opposed to the move.

At a meeting on Monday they were handed the petition by representatives of patients and staff.

Nursing auxiliary Della Davies told the meeting: "We are very well aware that our jobs are safe but we would encourage you to think about the patients.

"There is a good deal of public support out there to save Fairwood Hospital."

Health service mangers in Swansea began the year with a 16.3m funding gap which has been cut by 12m through changes to patient care.

Marlene Huxtable and Della Davies
This is not just about the financial figures they were talking about in there
Marlene Huxtable

But LHB members were told they still had to find another 4.3m savings.

Trust chief executive Jane Perrin said: "As a health community we are facing some very difficult decisions.

"If the LHB did not wish to support the proposals for Fairwood it means going back to the drawing board."

Nineteen of the beds at Fairwood are for convalescence patients discharged from general surgery or orthopaedics.

The other nine provide a hostel-type service for cancer patients travelling from across Wales for day-care treatment at Singleton Hospital.

"The occupancy rate is low for the convalescence care. We are only using half the beds we have available," she said.

'Hope'

But other board members questioned whether mothballing the hospital, which would save around 166,000 this financial year, was a move they could support.

There was also a question of whether there would need to be statutory consultation which could delay the hospital's closure.

LHB members will discuss the issue again on 28 September.

Speaking after the meeting staff member Marlene Huxtable said she was hopeful the campaign would be successful.

"We care about every single one of our patients and this is not just about the financial figures they were talking about in there.

"I think there is hope and we not going to give in."


SEE ALSO:
Cash worry means hospital changes
29 Jul 05 |  South West Wales
Consultants attack cuts in beds
02 Feb 05 |  South West Wales


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