Tyne & Wear

Rothbury Hospital in-patient beds to be reinstated

Rothbury Community Hospital
Image caption Health bosses voted to close the hospital's 12 in-patient beds in 2016

The future of a Northumberland community hospital has been secured almost three years after plans to axe its in-patient beds were announced.

Health bosses said the 12 beds at Rothbury Hospital were underused and voted to close them in September 2016.

But after pressure from campaigners the decision was referred to the government and a review commissioned.

It has now been agreed the beds will be reinstated under a "flexible" system of clinical need and demand.

Independent Northumberland county councillor Steven Bridgett said having "that level of care on your doorstep... can only be a positive thing".

"Not just the beds but other services like mental health, potentially chemotherapy and other services right here without residents having to travel," he said.

The beds were initially closed by the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on a temporary basis in September 2016 before it voted to close them permanently a year later.

In October 2017 Northumberland County Council referred that decision to the Department of Health.

The following month an independent panel said there were flaws in the process and "further action locally was needed".

But campaigners said they wanted a "fully functioning hospital", and mounted a series of protest marches.

At an extraordinary meeting of the CCG it was decided the beds would return as soon as possible.

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