As an online petition to save a much loved hydrotherapy pool passes the 1,000 signature mark, health chiefs have told the council they plan to launch a six week consultation exercise over its future.
Users of the Bedford Hospital pool, at Gilbert Hitchcock House, will be presented with four options, which include re-opening it immediately, or closing it.
Petition organiser Jill Hamilton, says on her 38 Degrees web page: “The closure of the pool left many people’s health seriously deteriorating as no suitable alternative has been offered.” On Wednesday (July 3) it had been signed by 1,054 people.
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has presented its and Bedford Hospital’s joint plan to Monday’s (July 8) meeting of Bedford Borough Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The plan is to make a decision in September.
The report from the CCG says throughout 2018 the pool was “repeatedly closed” because of faults and maintenance issues. Patients with conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological disorders were having treatment cancelled at short notice.
Repairs to the boiler system require “significant investment”, the report says.
There was also a risk from chlorine levels, which cause skin irritation when too high and allow bacteria to spread when too low.
In 2017 the pool was used nearly 3,000 times by 525 NHS patients for a total of 17 hours per week.
The four options presented for committee comment are:
1. Re-open the pool immediately without refurbishment.
2. Refurbish the pool and re-open it.
3. Close the pool.
4. Provide services at local facilities on a session by session basis.