Shropshire Star

Reopening date for community hospital set to be announced

Health bosses in Shropshire say they will make an announcement "in due course" regarding a future opening date for in-patient services at Bishop’s Castle Hospital.

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Last month, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (ShropCom) announced it would re-open the ward following a successful staff recruitment campaign, after a shortage of staff resulted in a closure period of nearly two years.

However this week the trust confirmed confirmed it was not yet ready to announce details of when the service would be open for admissions again.

“The trust is shortly planning to make an announcement regarding the opening date for the inpatient service at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital.  We will share the details of this announcement in due course,” said a spokesperson.

At its board meeting in April, ShropCom said it would re-open the unit “as soon as is practically possible” after around 16 new full-time equivalent registered nurses and healthcare support workers were recruited for roles at the hospital.

The hospital ceased admissions to all its in-patient services at short notice in October 2021 after the numbers of nursing staff fell below safe operating levels.

Campaigners in Bishop’s Castle had worked with ShropCom to spearhead the recruitment efforts, following a public outcry after suggestions the closure could become permanent.

As part of a dedicated recruitment drive, the trust launched an advertising campaign across local media and online sites, and hosted a series of recruitment events at the hospital.

They added that a number of staff who were in post in 2021 when the unit closed would also now be redeployed back to Bishop’s Castle, and at the beginning of April ShropCom said it would now begin to recommission services at the building.

“Following a review of the safe staffing levels, it is recommended that the trust could safely move towards re-opening the inpatient service at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital,” they said.

“Given the recruitment achieved to date, the trust moves to develop and implement a mobilisation plan to re-open the inpatient service at BCCH.”