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Have your say on Bishop Auckland Hospital Ward 6 Proposals (1)

PEOPLE in County Durham and Darlington are being invited to have their say on a proposal to help patients who need extra support return home sooner from hospital.

NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North Durham CCG and Darlington CCG have re-launched their ten-week public consultation, commencing January 14, 2020, to review the services on Ward 6, Bishop Auckland Hospital. 

The initial consultation, which began in October 2019, was paused due to the announcement of the general election. 

Four public events will take place on: 

Thursday, January 30, 10am -12 noon, Great Hall, Durham Town Hall

Saturday, February 8, 10am -12 noon, the Music Hall, The Witham, Barnard Castle

Wednesday, February 12, 6pm - 8pm, at Bishop Auckland Football Club, Bishop Auckland

Tuesday, February 25, 1pm - 3pm, St Augustine Parish Centre, Darlington 

The 24-bed ward currently delivers nurse- led step down care for patients who are medically well but unable to return home immediately.

The existing Ward 6 service provides limited therapy input and is not a specific rehabilitation facility. Beds on Ward 6 have been used for patients waiting for packages of care or other assessments to assist them before they return home. 

Following a review of services, a clinically based proposal has been put forward by the CCG to repurpose the unit into an inpatient rehabilitation facility, offering patients dedicated therapy support to help them leave hospital sooner and get back to where they live. 

Dr Stewart Findlay, Chief Officer at DDES CCG, said: "Step-down care is required for patients that are still in recovery and who require rehabilitation to enable them to leave hospital. 

"We know that unnecessary and prolonged stays in hospital are not good for patients due to sleep deprivation, increased risk of falls and fracture and the risk of catching healthcare acquired infections. 

"We need to help patients who are medically well by supporting them to return to their homes as quickly as possible". 

Two options for the future of Ward 6 have been put forward in the DDES CCG consultation: 

  • Do nothing and keep it as it is
  • Provide a specific therapy nurse-led ward with16 beds , on Ward 17 - the CCGs preferred option 

The CCGs have invested in NHS community services helping to deliver care closer to people's homes, with further investment planned to develop Bishop Auckland Hospital into a specialist centre for planned surgery procedures. 

"During their time in hospital it is important that patients have access to a wide range of professionals to help them achieve their rehabilitation goals," added Dr Findlay. 

"Our focus is to ensure that patients are discharged at the most appropriate time, with a robust care plan in place and support through our community care services once they are home. 

"Listening to patients, carers and communities and acting on feedback ensures that our joint decision-making and planning of health services can help to meet the needs of local people" 

Carole Langrick, Executive Director of Operations, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are committed to supporting our local populations with the right care, in the right place and which meets individual needs. 

"We know that unnecessary longer stays in hospitals can affect a patient's outcomes and that therapy input is vital to support a patient's rehabilitation and have been working with our staff and stakeholders to seek views on how we could improve the model of care being provided for patients currently being cared for on Ward 6 at Bishop Auckland Hospital. 

"We look forward to sharing these proposals with the wider public during the formal consultation." 

If you would like to register to attend for one of the public events or require consultation documentation contact NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group at: or 0191 389 8609

 The consultation also features an online questionnaire available at:


Published 13th January 2020


'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham