Health chiefs confirm closure of Belper’s Babbington Hospital

Babbington Hospital.
Babbington Hospital.

Belper’s Babbington Hospital is to close and health services move to a new multi-million pound base in the town.

NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body has confirmed services currently provided from Babington Hospital will be moved to a new facility to be built in Derwent Street.

Both the hospital and clinic will remain in use until construction of the new site is completed.

The move comes despite strong opposition from Belper residents, nearly 6,000 of whom signed a petition to save the hospital site and retain health services there, as well as at the new building.

They feel that the current site in Derby Road is more accessible and should be cherished, saying: “Babington Hospital is an iconic building playing an important part of the identity and history of Belper.”

But health leaders say difficulties posed by increasing maintenance needs and limitations of Babington’s ageing building, and an ongoing review of Belper health services, prompted CCG leaders to consider moving existing services from Babington’s site – including Belper Clinic – to a new development closer to the centre of the town.

Dr Paul Wood, practising GP and chairman of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We made it as easy as we could for people to get involved as we wanted to hear as many views and ideas as possible.

“Patients are at the heart of services and we want to make sure high quality services are delivered from the most appropriate place.

“Unfortunately, Babington just isn’t practical for providing healthcare today and in the future. We want to make sure money and resources the NHS has are used in the most effective way and services and patients are prioritised, rather than buildings.

“People today are able to live longer, and the result of this is we need more long-term support for complex conditions, and we’re taking this into account as we forward plan so the right care is available.

“Ongoing care for conditions like diabetes, and heart and lung issues, more often than not, can and should be provided by a team of professionals in the community, close to patients’ homes, rather than in a particular NHS building.”

William Jones, chief operating officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m delighted we can now proceed with the new build in the town centre and secure 21st Century facilities for Belper’s future generations and for our brilliant staff.”