Shropshire Star

Bishop's Castle Community Hospital beds could close permanently say health bosses

There is no prospect of reopening community hospital beds in Bishop's Castle at present, health bosses say.

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Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital

Staff recruitment is blamed for the decision, which has been made on safety grounds.

Shropshire Community Health Trust (ShropCom) says the decision has to be made over whether to permanently close the inpatient service.

Campaigners have been calling for the beds to be reopened since the closure of the 16-bed hospital in October 2021. They said then that the health service was showing 'contempt' for rural areas.

Earlier this year councillors said the closure was an appalling lack of use of a medical facility.

Councillor and campaigner Darren Childs responded to the latest news saying community hospitals were a vital part of rural life. It was at least an hour's journey to Shrewsbury, Telford or Hereford hospitals, he said.

Clair Hobbs, director of nursing and workforce for ShropCom, has now said there is no reasonable prospect at the moment of the beds reopening.

She said: "Shropshire Community Health Trust can confirm it has concluded there is no reasonable prospect, at present, of the trust being able to safely reopen the community hospital beds at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital. And whilst this is disappointing news it is the right conclusion on safety grounds.

"Recruitment has been a problem for several years, and despite considerable time and efforts, we have been unable to secure the right level of staff to deliver safe, high-quality care to patients."

Since the beds closed temporarily in October 2021 most patients have been cared for at home or at Ludlow Community Hospital.

The trust has formally notified NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, the organisation responsible for commissioning local health services, of the current position.

It said: "There will now commence a period of engagement with its staff and public on the current position, and the decision it must take as to whether or not to relinquish its contract with NHS STW to provide an inpatient service at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital."

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust is the NHS organisation responsible for providing community health services to the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

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