Suffolk

Norfolk community hospital: 'Good chance' of saving Ditchingham beds

Protesters campaigning against the closure
Image caption A community campaign began after the Trust announced the hospital in Ditchingham was to close

Hopes have been raised that a hospital which closed when it ran out of money could reopen under a new operator.

All Hallows Healthcare Trust said in March it could not afford to run its 30-bed hospital, nursing home, at-home care and daycare services.

Other providers have since stepped in, but it is still seeking a group to take over the ward in Ditchingham, Norfolk.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said: "I think there's a very good chance and I'm confident that it will reopen."

The independent trust provided care for more than 250 people every day through its services in the Waveney valley on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

As well as Ditchingham, it had a 50-bed nursing home in Bungay and offices in Lowestoft to co-ordinate care in people's own homes.

Mr Aldous, Conservative, is part of the steering group attempting to find a new operator for the hospital, and said feedback had been encouraging.

"What we have to get right is that it reopens in a form so that it's open for the long-term and it serves the community well," he added.

Image copyright all-hallows.org.uk
Image caption All Hallows Hospital, pictured here in 1892, was founded by Lavinia Crosse

Care commissioners, including Norfolk and Suffolk county councils, have reached an agreement with Empanda Care and Support to take over daycare duties from July.

It means services will continue to be delivered by the same staff at the Ditchingham site.

New providers have already been found for the nursing home and homecare services.

However, no company has come forward to take over its meals-on-wheels service, which will close at the end of June.

Four people will lose their jobs, and the 74 remaining customers will be directed towards other suitable providers.

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said the news was "disappointing".

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