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Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital to remain closed

Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital is to remain closed after the Trust which runs it said there was no prospect of it being able to safely re-open.

Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital
Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital

The 12-bed Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital closed in October 2021, because of staff shortages and patient safety concerns.

Shropshire Community Health Trust (ShropCom) which runs the hospital, said it was disappointing news that it would remain closed, but it was the correct conclusion on safety grounds.

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In a statement, Clair Hobbs, Director of Nursing and Workforce for Shropshire Community Health Trust (ShropCom), said:

“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 in Ludlow Community Hospital.

“The Trust has formally notified NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (STW), the organisation responsible for commissioning local health services of the current position. And 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.

Ruth Houghton, Shropshire Councillor for the town said: “This is potentially devastating news for rural community where access to alternative sources of health care is difficult and public transport is poor.

“It seems that Consultation started on 22nd but there was no notification to those they are consulting with until 25th May. Even now there are no details as to how to take part in it.”

Local Councillors Heather Kidd, Ruth Houghton and Nigel Hartin have arranged a public meeting arranged for 7pm (Doors open 6.30pm) in the Community College School Hall on Monday 5th June.

Simon Whitehouse from the Integrated Care Board and Patricia Davies the Chief Exec of Shropshire Community Hospital Trust (ShropCom) have been invited along with Lynn Cawley from Healthwatch Shropshire.

Cllr Heather Kidd (Shropshire Councillor for Chirbury and Worthen Division) said “We had an excellent Hospital in Bishops Castle delivering a quality service to local residents. It’s pretty obvious the trust want to close the hospital come what may. Already they have tried but had to backtrack as they failed to consult properly.

“People from our very rural area are now forced to take up Community Hospital beds in Whitchurch and Ludlow. Ms Davies agreed on several occasions to work with us and the community. That was an empty promise.”

Nigel Hartin (Councillor for Clun Division) said: “Recruitment is much easier when you have a vision for the hospital and are innovative about its use. I asked for this, and they never thought one through. Who would apply for a job in a hospital under threat. They only tried to recruit locally once. Very poor.”

Ruth Houghton concluded: “This proposed closure would cut much needed quality employment from the town and surrounding rural areas. It is such a blow for those who loved working here and have now been transferred to Ludlow.”

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