Somerset community hospital wards under weekly review

Published
Image source, Sharon Loxton
Image caption,
Wards at Shepton Mallet and two other community hospitals have been closed since last year

Hospital bosses will review on a weekly basis whether wards at three Somerset community hospitals can be reopened.

Inpatient beds at Chard, Shepton Mallet and Cotford St Luke were closed in September and October due to staffing shortages.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has now said although staff numbers have improved it is not to reopen the wards permanently.

Critics of the decision say a long-term decision is needed over the closures.

'Be honest'

Liberal Democrat county councillor Amanda Broom said people in Chard were becoming "increasingly frustrated" with the closures.

She said: "What I find the hardest is that they keep delaying the decision.

"We did say early on in the process if they had no intention of reopening the wards then let's be honest, let's be open about it so residents in Chard know what the other outcome may look like."

In a report to Somerset County Council's scrutiny committee the trust said decisions on when wards should reopen would be made by the chief executive depending on staffing levels and patient need.

The Trust also stated: "Somerset Partnership remains committed to re-opening the temporarily closed wards as soon as it is safe to do so with appropriate levels of staffing to ensure quality provision of care.

"The Trust is reviewing the options for delivering sustainable community hospital inpatient services with Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group for next winter."

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