Isle of Man government close hospital ward and axe Meals on Wheels funding

image captionAn acute ward at Noble's Hospital will be replaced by a chemotherapy facility

A hospital ward will close and funding is being cut from a "lifeline" meals service in the latest round of health cuts following an £11m overspend.

The closure of Ward 5, which treats elderly patients, at Noble's Hospital and the Meals on Wheels service used by 300 people will save £630,000 a year.

Health chiefs said the move would end nurse shortages and Age Concern "may choose to" continue the meals service.

The charity, which runs Meals on Wheels, was "shocked and alarmed".

Health Minister Kate Beecroft said the decision was "regrettable" but the health department was under "significant financial pressure".

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionAge Concern wants the Manx government to reconsider its decision to withdraw funding

The closure of the 20-bed ward next February would save £480,000 a year in agency fees, and bring an end to a staff criticised by a health watchdog in 2014.

Patients will be treated at a specialised ward at Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital, which will have 10 new beds.

The government said more people will be treated at home to "avoid unnecessary hospital admissions".

"This will modernise how we deliver health and social care while improving outcomes for patients," Mrs Beecroft said.

The government's decision to withdraw funding for Meals on Wheels from January 2018 would save £150,000.

It provides meals about 300 elderly residents with 84 of those aged between 90 and 102.

Age Concern said it was a "lifeline" as it provides company and well-being checks for some people who "may not see anyone else during the day".

Helen Southworth, from the charity, said: "We are very worried this decision will at best make life more difficult for our senior citizens and at worst put vulnerable older people at risk of malnutrition."

The charity has appealed to the government to "change its mind".

A chemotherapy ward will replace Ward 5 and staff at the existing ward will be transferred over.

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