STRUCTURE: Five community hospitals in Surrey could have services changed, and two could close, under plans drawn up by their clinical commissioning group.

Surrey Downs CCG is consulting on what services should be provided at Cobham, Leatherhead, Dorking and Molesey hospitals, plus the New Epsom and Ewell community hospital.

The commissioner came up with a number of possible changes after reviewing its community hospitals. These are:

  • Only using inpatient beds for rehabilitation, not convalescence. This might mean some care home beds would be used for convalescence or other short term stays in future.
  • Starting rehabilitation earlier, which could reduce delayed transfers of care for the acute sector but would mean patients might be sent further from their home if beds were available at any of the community hospitals. The CCG is also trialling more physiotherapy and occupational therapy for patients.
  • Concentrating inpatient beds on fewer sites in larger wards and potentially changing how neurorehabilitation is provided.
  • Introducing “day rehabilitation” and moving some outpatient services into GP surgeries.

The CCG came up with four possible options. Under three of them, services could be relocated from one or more of the community hospitals.

Under all options the Leatherhead Hospital would become a planned care centre and its 18 inpatient beds – transferred to Epsom and Ewell since December 2014 – would not reopen.

Inpatient beds would be concentrated on three sites but one option would see Cobham Hospital reopen beds – which were closed in 2004 – and services transfer there from Molesey. Another would vacate Epsom and Ewell and relocate beds to the Epsom General Hospital site. The remaining option would combine these, with services relocated from both Epsom and Ewell and Molesey. These hospitals are owned by NHS Property Services, which would have to decide what to do with them. The majority of the services at the hospitals are provided by social enterprise CSH Surrey.

Claire Fuller, clinical chair at Surrey Downs CCG, said: “The four options focus on where services are located in future to best meet changes in the local population and future demand for healthcare. Our focus is on improving care, as well as making services more efficient, so under all options there would still be the same number of inpatient rehabilitation beds.’’