CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the return of all 52 beds for older people which had previously been axed at Wharfedale Hospital in Otley.
The Support Wharfedale Hospital Campaign was launched after one ward was closed at the hospital in 2006 followed by a second in 2011.
The 26-bedded Bilberry unit opened at the hospital in January a link up between Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and care home firm Villa Care Group.
Otley MP Greg Mulholland, who founded the campaign group, has welcomed the trust’s announcement that 26 more beds have opened this week at the hospital’s new Heather Unit.
All 52 beds are for elderly patients who are fit to be discharged from hospital but are waiting for assessments or care packages to be put in place.
Mr Mulholland said: “I am delighted that another 26 beds for older people are opening at Wharfedale Hospital, this is great news after many years of campaigning.”
Mr Mulholland added: “I want to pay tribute to the Support Wharfedale Hospital campaign and the thousands of people who signed petitions against the original closures of the wards for continuing to campaign for them to be used again.”
Professor Suzanne Hinchliffe, deputy chief Executive at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “Since mid-January when we opened the Bilberry Unit at Wharfedale Hospital in partnership with Villa Care for a six-month period, it has made a significant contribution to helping us free up hospital beds at St James’s and Leeds General Infirmary for both emergency and planned admissions during a period of high winter demand.”