Consultation on dementia care changes in Harrogate

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Plans to halve the number of hospital beds for people with dementia in the Harrogate area are to go out to public consultation.

The 32 inpatient beds for dementia patients are equally divided between Harrogate Hospital and Alexander House in Knaresborough.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust plan to close all 16 beds in Knaresborough.

The trust said the plan was based on the changing needs of patients.

Under the proposals, the 16 beds at Alexander House would be closed but the unit would still offer respite care.

The trust said bed occupancy in Knaresborough had fallen and the environment at Harrogate hospital was more appropriate to treat patients with complex needs.

Savings generated by bed closure would enable the trust to "protect and invest" in community services as more people with dementia were being treated outside hospital, it said.

The Alzheimer's Society said the trust should ensure services were sufficient to meet the needs of people at all stages of dementia.

A public consultation on the plans will run until January 2013.

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