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Figures Show Collapse in Local Hydrotherapy Care Since NHS Pool Closure

January 23, 2020 2:04 PM

Dean CroftsNew figures have revealed an alarming collapse in the number of people receiving NHS hydrotherapy care locally since the closure of the hydrotherapy pool at the former North Wing hospital site in Bedford last year.

Data shows that just 13 people attended hydrotherapy sessions run by Bedford Hospital between September and December 2019. These sessions now take place weekly at a hydrotherapy pool at the Anjulita Court care home in Woodlands Park, following the decision to close the pool at Gilbert Hitchcock House on cost grounds.

By comparison, there were 755 users of hydrotherapy sessions over two years when the Gilbert Hitchcock House pool was operational.

The figures were revealed in a Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning report to Bedford Borough Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee this week, where Liberal Democrat councillors took issue with the Commissioners' extraordinary claim that the change has been 'positive'.

Commenting, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Cllr Dean Crofts said: "These figures confirm our worst fears about the closure of the hydrotherapy pool. This is a shocking collapse in the number of patients benefiting from hydrotherapy, and a major reduction of an important service.'

"To run group sessions at just one site after telling the public that there would be five or six is absolutely scandalous. For the Commissioners to claim that this has been a positive change is ludicrous and suggests a worrying attitude towards a service which is valued highly by hundreds of local patients. "

Despite patients' opposition to the pool closure, Bedfordshire CCG went ahead with the severe reduction in the provision of the hydrotherapy service.

With only one alternative facility in use with limited capacity, it is feared that the shocking fall in patients receiving hydrotherapy care will continue as clinicians make prescribing decisions accordingly.