MP's anger at hospital ward closure

AN MP has branded the decision to close a ward in an Essex hospital “absolutely appalling”.Clacton Hospital said it will be closing the 19-bed ward next month as part of a process to improve the staff-to-patient ratio.

AN MP has branded the decision to close a ward in an Essex hospital “absolutely appalling”.

Clacton Hospital said it will be closing the 19-bed ward next month as part of a process to improve the staff-to-patient ratio.

But Douglas Carswell MP, who represents Harwich and Clacton, insisted yesterday that the closure is part of cost cutting and a sign of a lack of money.

He said: “It's absolutely appalling. What they're avoiding saying is that they don't have enough money. They should be open about it.


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“It is a cause of great concern to a lot of local people. They ought to be taking on more staff, not getting rid of more patients.

“This comes at a time when there are already plans to merge Tendring and Colchester PCTs, when more and more resources that ought to be heading to Tendring and Clacton will be diverted to Colchester.

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“Already I and other people are hyper-sensitive about this and this closure only adds to my fears and confirms my suspicions.”

The closure of the Percy Coleman Ward on October 2 will reduce the amount of beds available at the hospital from 97 to 78.

The hospital has said that the move is part of a streamlining process, and the transfer of staff from the closed ward to the three remaining wards on the site will achieve the acquired ratio of staff to patients.

The decision is the result of a study by Tendring PCT, which runs the hospital, that identified a need to offer higher standards of care.

Ward sister Nancy Barrett said: “The three new ward teams will have an improved skills mix and be better placed to offer the highest levels of care, which is what we want to be able to give our patients.

“Though we will lose 19 out of 97 hospital beds as a result of this re-configuration, we feel this loss will more than be outweighed by our ability to improve the service we will be able to offer.

“There is also a knock-on effect that, following the ward closure, our nursing staff will be working in a much better and less stressful environment. So there are benefits for the whole hospital community.”

No decision has been made about the future use of the empty ward, but hospital bosses are hoping they can use the space to expand an existing unit.

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