A community hospital has suspended ward admissions amid "staffing shortages".
Healthcare providers said the closure at Withernsea Community Hospital, East Yorkshire, was temporary, and current inpatients were unaffected.
A decision to permanently close the 12-bed inpatient ward at the hospital has been referred to the health secretary who has yet to announce his decision.
The beds currently have "minimal occupancy", City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP) said.
Andrew Burnell, CHCP chief executive, said it was "not an ideal situation", but "patient and staff safety must come first".
He said: "There have been occasions when staff shortages have been so severe we have been very close to having to move elderly patients to another community hospital, often in an evening, because nurses have called in sick or agency staff are not available.
"This is not good for either patients or staff."
The hospital has an inpatient ward, X-ray department and a minor injuries unit that is under-threat from closure.
Following a review by East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it was decided in March to permanently close the hospital ward to "redesign services".
The decision was then referred to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Burnell added: "At the present time it's very difficult to get somebody to work somewhere that has got the threat of being closed."
East Riding of Yorkshire CCG said it supported the temporary closure and would review the impact of the change "over the coming months".
A Department of Health spokesperson said the inpatient ward referral remained under consideration.