Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has lobbied the government and NHS bosses to make use of the existing facilities at Calderstones Hospital in Whalley. Mr Evans, who recently met with Mark Hindle, Executive Director of Operations at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, has insisted more can be done to ensure the site remains open for medical services. The Calderstones site has been earmarked for closure since 2016..
Mr Evans has voiced his concerns about the closure of the site since it was announced in 2016 following an NHS consultation and has since lobbied senior figures to suggest alternative uses for the state-of the-art facility. Earlier this week Mr Evans wrote to Jeremy Hunt and Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Merseycare, the NHS body that manages the site, to request that Calderstones is utilised in a partial capacity for low-risk care.
Speaking about the potential uses of the site, Mr Evans said:
“The full closure of Calderstones would be of massive detriment to the Ribble Valley, I have seen first-hand the dedication of staff and the excellent facilities on offer – including the ‘Maplewood’ unit which cost the taxpayer £7 million just seven years ago. This incredible building was designed to emit low to zero carbon emissions and treat mental health patients, it seems a backwards step to close a readymade facility when there is so much emphasis on mental health treatment – it is absurd.”
Calderstones is the only NHS facility in the UK which specialises in learning disabilities, and received a rating of ‘Good’ across all domains when assessed by the Care Quality Commission in 2016. It has 223 beds and as of 2015 employs over 1000 full time equivalent staff.
Continuing, Mr Evans said:
“I have asked questions about the closure of the facility, and provided ideas of how the site can be further utilised. It would be an extremely simple procedure to commission Calderstones for other areas of care such as dementia, care after combat, or care for survivors of abuse. I have invited Jeremy Hunt to Calderstones to see its vast potential for himself.”