Over one thousand people have signed an online petition to save a much needed hydrotherapy pool, yet health chiefs have told Bedford Borough council they still plan to launch a six week consultation over its future.
As revealed in the Bedford Independent back in April, concerned users of the service started a petition to get the pool reopened, believing if it stayed shut any longer, it would be closed permanently.
Users of the Bedford Hospital pool, at Gilbert Hitchcock House, will be presented with four options, which include re-opening it immediately and closing it.
Petition organiser Jill Hamilton, says on her ‘Save Bedford Hospital Hydrotherapy Pool‘ petition: “The closure of the pool left many people’s health seriously deteriorating as no suitable alternative has been offered.
“The pool is used by 400 patients a year. There are no other hydrotherapy pools in Bedfordshire.”
At the time of publication it had been signed by 1,054 people.
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will present a plan, jointly prepared with Bedford Hospital, at a meeting of Bedford Borough Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee next week (8 July).
The report from the CCG says throughout 2018 the pool was “repeatedly closed” because of faults and maintenance issues.
Patients with conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological disorders were having treatment cancelled at short notice.
Repairs to the boiler system require “significant investment”, the report says.
There was also a risk from chlorine levels, which cause skin irritation when too high and allow bacteria to spread when too low.
In 2017 the pool was used nearly 3,000 times by 525 NHS patients for a total of 17 hours per week.
The four options that will be presented to the committee for comment are:
- Re-open the pool with immediately without refurbishment
- Refurbish the pool and re-open it
- Close the pool
- Provide services at local facilities on a sessional basis
The plan is to make a decision in September.
Words: David Tooley, Local Democracy Reporter and Paul Hutchinson