Anger at closure of Bishop Auckland Hospital children's ward
THE closure of a hospital children’s ward was described as “like a knife in the back” by angry protesters yesterday.
Just seven years after the opening of the £67m Bishop Auckland General Hospital in County Durham, health bosses are to close the ward, which has 10 beds for in-patients.
Instead, parents of sick children could face a round trip of up to 80 miles to visit their offspring from remote parts of Weardale in County Durham.
And families from a large conurbations including communities such as Crook, Shildon, Tow Law, Stanhope, and Wolsingham will face far longer journeys to hospitals in either Darlington or Durham City.
The decision by health bosses at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was called “a knife in the back” by retired detective Clive Auld, 62, a stalwart in Bishop Auckland’s Save Our Hospital campaign.
Hospital bosses last night said the decision would improve services, but Mr Auld said: “At no time in the consultation did the Trust refer to closing the children’s ward. It has been achieved by stealth and is an absolute disgrace.”
Mr Auld said the hospital serves a largely rural area of 195 square miles, with a population of just under 100,000.
“Some families will face long, arduous journeys to visit their children in hospital, which is appalling,” he added.