KNUTSFORD residents will be looking on with interest after a health trust announced inpatient beds were a step closer to being brought back to neighbouring Northwich on a permanent basis.

Rehabilitation beds are being funded at Leftwich Green as a ‘step down’ from hospital or a ‘step up’ from the community, similar to the former inpatients’ unit at the Victoria Infirmary Northwich (VIN).

Knutsford’s inpatient Tatton Ward closed permanently in April 2013, with patients being moved to the East Cheshire NHS Trust operated Macclesfield Hospital.

The beds are being funded by NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) and the two groups hope to secure the funding to offer the beds permanently.

A CWAC spokesman said: “We are working with Vale Royal CCG to provide rehabilitation services within Leftwich Green that will enable individuals recovering from illness or accident to undertake recovery in a safe and homely environment.

“Trained staff are available to offer physiotherapy and occupational therapy services, with the regular oversight of a GP, to enable people to regain their confidence and independence before returning to their homes.

“While the service is currently a temporary arrangement, the partners are working together to ensure more permanent arrangements can be put in place.”

A spokesman for NHS Vale Royal CCG explained that the beds were part of a total of 20 extra beds which have been purchased through NHS England funding for the whole of Vale Royal.