Chief quizzed on ward’s future
BY JOANNA WARDILL
A hospital chief was called before councillors this week to explain the future of a breast cancer surgery ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The Courier reported last month patients’ fears that ward 8d at the Halifax hospital was closing.
Consultant surgeon Peter Holdsworth, divisional director of surgery at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Founation Trust, appeared at Calderdale Council’s health and social care scrutiny panel on Tuesday night.
He stressed the ward was not closing but the service was moving “20 yards down the corridor” to another ward, 4C – to bring breast cancer and gynaecological services together to create a women’s unit.
Male breast cancer patients – who were previously treated on 8d – will now be placed on a male surgical ward, still with access to a clinical nurse specialist.
He said no staff were losing their jobs but were being moved to other areas of the hospital.
Kelly Sirmond, whose husband was treated for breast cancer on ward 8d, brought a petition to the meeting which had been signed by nearly 900 people.
She said: “Our concern is they will not have the same level of care that ward 8d nurses provide. They are absolutely fantastic. Why try and fix something if it’s not wrong?.”
Kelly said her husband was kept in separate bay on the ward but was going through the same thing as the women, and they all talked to each other.
Sharon Bolton, who was also treated on ward 8d, said it was an “insult” to move the specalist staff on 8d to other areas of the hospital. She also said it helped to be with others who have had single or double mastectomy – rather than on a ward with women with gynaecological issues. She said: “Some are having mastectomies, some reconstructive surgery. It’s nice to be able to share with different people along that journey, when they are at different stages of it.
Coun Ruth Goldthorpe (Lib Dem, Todmorden), chairwoman of the scrutiny panel, said “We don’t like surprises. We don’t like reading about things in the Courier.
“We would rather know beforehand. It triggered us to ask you to scrutiny to discuss what I see as a significant change. I think it’s quite a major change as well as we can see the petition that’s been put together,” She added: “Can you assure us that patients will receive best comparable care and will get that specialist support”.
Mr Holdsworth replied “Yes, I can assure you of that.”
Speaking to the Courier after the meeting, Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: My concern is the real lack of consultation. It’s just not good enough.
“My other concern is what’s happen to ward 8d now they’ve moved the patients.
“If there’s no proper consulatation, rumours will get worse. They have to be open and honest and accountable. If not then we are going to have to campaign to keep wards open.”
BY SARAH KELLY
Furious patients are campaigning to save a hospital ward for people battling breast cancer which is set to be shut.
Hospital bosses plan to close Ward 8d at Calderdale Royal Hospital, which currently offers specialist treatment for cancer patients.
Its services will merge with another ward for gynaecological surgery patients next month.
A spokeswoman for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust claimed the move would improve services for women.
She said: “The trust has improved services for women by bringing together breast and gynaecological surgery patients in the same area.
“Fewer women now need lengthy stays in hospital which has enabled us to bring these specialties together in one area.”
But Kelly Sirmond, whose husband has been fighting breast cancer, says she fears everyone’s care will suffer.
“I think it’s an absolute disgrace.
“The nurses on that ward are specialists in breast cancer care trained to treat people with breast cancer.”
She has launched an epetition aimed at saving the ward from closure. To add your signature, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-ward-8d-calderdales-breast-cancer-ward-from-c.