Sickness forces hospital beds closure

HEALTH chiefs have decided to close inpatient beds at a community hospital over Christmas because of staff sickness.

Russell Claydon

HEALTH chiefs have decided to close inpatient beds at a community hospital over Christmas because of staff sickness.

The Patrick Stead community hospital in Halesworth will shut its doors to new inpatients for up to 12 days from Friday, it has emerged.

The minor injuries unit, outpatient service and Rayner Green Day Centre will be unaffected by the closure.


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A decision was taken to close the 12-bed unit over the festive period after a spate of sickness amongst staff in the area.

It means visitors will be forced to travel to facilities at Beccles and Southwold.

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Mike Stonard, chief executive of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said only two patients were likely to have to move and they are looking into reimbursing visiting families who are forced to travel at a time when public transport will be limited.

He said: “The safety of our patients has always been of paramount importance and although this decision is regrettable, it is necessary at a time when we are experiencing very high levels of staff sickness.

“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to recruit sufficient temporary staff with the specialist skills required to cover the Christmas period. During the closure, we will keep the situation under constant review so we can reopen the ward as soon as it is possible to do so.”

He said the majority of the patients currently at the hospital are due to complete their treatment and be discharged within the next few days and that two may need to be temporarily transferred to a local community hospital of their choice.

He added: “We are currently exploring the degree to which we might reimburse the travel costs of close relatives of those patients which may need to be transferred and will be speaking to people directly about this.”

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