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Success! 26 More Beds as Ward Opens at Wharfedale Hospital Following Longstanding Campaign.

March 7, 2017 2:47 PM

Otley's MP and founder of the Support Wharfedale Hospital Campaign Greg Mulholland, former Senior Nurse at Wharfedale Hospital and City Councillor Sandy Lay, and former local GP and Otley Town Councillor, Kate Whelan, are celebrating the announcement of the opening of 26 more beds at Wharfedale Hospital, following the opening of 26 beds at the Bilberry Unit in January. The two wards will cater specifically for existing older patients who no longer require acute care but who are not ready to go back home or into other care settings.

The announcement marks a victory for campaigners who have long called for increased provision at the hospital. Ever since the closure of an elderly care ward in 2006, pressure has been put on the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group with Greg Mulholland MP continuing to lead campaigning to maintain services at Wharfedale.

This announcement means that the hospital will now be operating all of its original 52 bed spaces, having had no beds open up until January of this year. This means that local older people will be able to stay at Wharfedale Hospital for their care, rather than in Leeds or Harrogate. Sandy Greg and Kate Wharfedale Hospital

Mr Mulholland has been calling for the re-opening of the two wards at Wharfedale Hospital since they were closed in 2006 and 2011. The ongoing campaigning efforts also included thousands of signatures on petitions criticising previous ward closures. Greg founded the community 'Support Wharfedale Hospital' campaign and organised a petition, signed by 5,000 local people, which was handed to Parliament.

As well as leading the campaign, Mr Mulholland, Sandy Lay, and Kate Whelan previously met several times with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) and with local CCGs to urge them to reopen the wards.

Speaking today, Greg said,

"I am delighted that another 26 beds for older people are opening at Wharfedale Hospital. This is great news after many years of campaigning. We will now be back to the original 52 beds at the hospital, which is hugely important, allowing people in Wharfedale to stay here rather than having to be in Leeds or Harrogate, but also is a big boost for Wharfedale Hospital as a facility.

"I commend the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust for finally making this happen and the CCG for funding and I also want to pay tribute to the Support Wharfedale Hospital campaign and the thousands of people who signed petitions against the original closures of the wards for continuing to campaign for them to be used again.

"I also want to thank and praise former Wharfedale Hospital senior nurse and City Councillor Sandy Lay and former GP and Otley Town Councillor Kate Whelan for their efforts and for working with me to finally get these wards and Wharfedale Hospital properly utilised again. Together as a community working with the Hospitals Trust, we and the Support Wharfedale Hospital campaign will continue to do all we can to support our local hospital so it serves local people and continues to deliver top quality NHS health care".

City Councillor Sandy Lay added:

"It is a vindication of my and Greg's campaign to get the wards reopened and it's great to see the wards full open again with the original 52 beds. I'd like to thank Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust for listening the concerns of residents and now challenge them to make this permanent. It is also to be welcomed that LTHT are committed to providing 'care closer to home'. With an ageing population I always knew there was a demand here in Leeds North West and it is no doubt great news, not just for patients but their families and the wider community."