Council pledges support to fight any cuts to healthcare beds

Benjamin Court in Cromer. Picture: Colin Finch

Benjamin Court in Cromer. Picture: Colin Finch - Credit: Colin Finch

A council has pledged support to communities fighting any possible cuts to healthcare beds in north Norfolk.

Last week North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (NNCCG) served notice to Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) on the beds it commissions at Benjamin Court in Roughton Road, Cromer and Cranmer House in Norwich Road, Fakenham.

It plans to move away from hospital-based services to provide more care in the community and has developed a new 'Supported Care' model which is due to be rolled out in May.

The announcement prompted anger from local councillors who fear it could lead to job losses and a reduction in services.

And now North Norfolk Council has pledged support to those fighting any cuts.

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NNDC Leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'We fully support ensuring a viable future for Benjamin Court and appreciate the wonderful care provided.

'With this in mind we wish to see full public consultation by the NNCCG before withdrawing any funding, together with imaginative alternative services being considered in order to ensure the future viability of these excellent facilities which are prized by residents in north Norfolk.'

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John Lee, chairman of the council and ward member for Suffield Park, which includes Benjamin Court, said it would be 'a massive blow' to the community to lose such a valuable asset. He added: 'My father recovered from a massive stroke and lived a longer life because of the fantastic care and attention he received at Benjamin Court.'

A spokesman for NNCCG said: 'The CCG sees the units as a vital part of its plans to provide a supported care model. This aims to prevent people being admitted to acute hospitals unnecessarily and to help people stay living independently by providing more care for people in a community setting.

'The CCG has informed NCH&C that it wants to look at using the units in different ways, and has been discussing these ideas with the Friends of the Hospital units and with the NNCCG community engagement panel, which includes representatives from NNDC. Going forward, the engagement process will be focusing on working with stakeholders to look at the different options for Benjamin Court and Cranmer House.'

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