Public Consultation about Rothbury Community Hospital

Consultation has now closed

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG) considered the future arrangements at Rothbury Community Hospital at a meeting held in public on Wednesday 27 September 2017.

The CCG’s Joint Locality Executive Board decided that the 12 inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital should be permanently closed and that existing health and care services should be shaped around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the site.

Papers for the Board meeting and a copy of the decision making report are available here:


The CCG started a public consultation on some proposed changes at Rothbury Community Hospital which ran from 31 January to 25 April 2017.

We consulted on the following proposal:

Permanent closure of the 12 inpatient beds and shape existing health and care services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site.

This would result in the permanent closure of the inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital but it includes continuing discussions with local people about how we can shape existing health and care services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site.

Developing such a centre is something that local people have talked to us about. There have been discussions for some time about the GP practice relocating there. We also feel there are opportunities to provide more physiotherapy and outpatient clinics which could include patients having an appointment at the hospital but talking to a specialist through a video link.Rothbury Hospital consultation map

We know some people feel strongly that there should be some respite and end of life care in Rothbury. However, respite care is not funded by the NHS and only a small number of people have died at Rothbury Community Hospital in recent years. Since the proposal does not include inpatient beds, we would be very keen to hear more from people about how they think a community based service could be developed which would provide these types of care.

The proposal would ensure that we make best and most efficient use of the staff and facilities available to us and would be in line with national and local policy to provide more care outside of hospital. It would also result in savings to the CCG of £500,000.

Although we looked at other options, after much consideration we decided to consult on only one. This is because we want to be honest with local people and not consult on options that would not be viable.

A video from our Clinical Chair, Dr Alistair Blair is below.

Why these changes are being proposed

At NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) we must make sure that all of the resources available to us are used effectively, efficiently and economically.

A review of beds at Rothbury Community Hospital showed that from September 2015 to August 2016 there were 123 admissions from the town and surrounding area plus a further 45 involving people from outside the area. On average, this means that half of the beds were occupied at any one time during that year.

This decrease in use has happened following the many medical advances which mean that patients are spending much less time in hospital after operations or serious illnesses. There have been improvements to the care provided since the opening of the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington. Very sick and seriously injured patients are seen quickly by the right specialist and have a much faster diagnosis with treatment beginning much earlier than before.

Rothbury Hospital consultation occupancy

There is also very clear national and local policy around the development of much more care outside of hospital to help people stay well and independent.

Figures available to us show that more people living in Rothbury and the surrounding area are already receiving services at home, including those provided by community/district nurses, the short term support service and home carers.

Although Rothbury Community Hospital has provided care for people with terminal illness, the number who were receiving care in the hospital at the end of their lives has remained small over a number of years. This is due to more people being supported to die at home.

Also, there is now national evidence to show that older people fare better at home than they do in hospital. Prolonged hospital stays can increase their risk of infection and can also impact on their mobility and confidence to live independently at home.

Consultation documents

Rothbury Hospital consultation doc coverCopies of the main consultation document and a summary leaflet were made available in public venues in Rothbury and the surrounding area and can also be downloaded here:

Options considered 

Taking into consideration the strong feelings expressed about retaining the inpatient ward, the CCG explored five options.

The following criteria were used to assess each one:

  • Feedback from residents
  • Patient choice
  • Staffing/resource implications
  • Quality
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Additional resources required/cost
  • Timeline i.e. the time it would take to implement
  • Strategic fit i.e. how it fitted against national policy and the longer term plans for the local NHS

In addition, a second assessment was also carried out, focused specifically on the requirement for CCGs to ensure efficient, effective and economic use of resources.

The tables showing the assessment of the five options against the above criteria and also against how efficient, effective and economic they would be are available below:


The consultation extended over a 12 week period from 31 January to 25 April 2017.

We are planning to be in a position to make a decision on the way forward by summer 2017. The decision will be made in public and any reports will be available here. We will make sure that the decision is communicated widely.

Consultation feedback

A copy of the document outlining the feedback we received as part of the consultation can be downloaded here:

Other useful information

Rothbury Community Hospital – Travel Impact Analysis

Rothbury Community Hospital – Inpatient Service Review

Five year forward view

Sustainability and transformation plans