Gossoms End closure: ‘We feel stabbed in the back and lied to’

Gossoms End Community Hospital, Berkhamsted
Gossoms End Community Hospital, Berkhamsted

A nurse says she and her colleagues feel ‘stabbed in the back’ after health bosses announced the shock closure of Gossoms End Community Hospital last week.

The nurse, who wanted to remain anonymous, was told about the closure – which the Herts Community NHS Trust says is temporary – last Friday.

She said: “We feel like we have been stabbed in the back and lied to.

“This can’t happen overnight; they must have been discussing it for a long time. It’s the pen-pushers isn’t it? It’s total bureacracy.

“I feel quite sorry for the patients’ families because they now have to find 20-odd beds in an NHS system which is, frankly, not very good.”

Despite an official statement released by Herts Community NHS Trust, which blamed the closure on a lack of permanent, full-time staff, the nurse said that hints were made towards budget cuts in the staff meeting.

She said: “They were talking about the financial trouble going back to April, so they’ve known since then. They said there is ‘insufficient funds’.”

Nurses, healthcare assistants and other staff are now looking for other positions within the NHS.

The nurse added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.

“They’ve given us these leaflets to reapply for jobs but there’s no guarantees we’ll get what we want.

“Some of us will have to go to Watford or Potters Bar, and some of us can’t drive. I’m one of the lucky ones because I have a car, but I don’t know what the others will do.”

According to the nurse, the Trust has offered to pay taxi fares for staff to get to other sites for the next six months.

Recalling what it was like to work at Gossoms End, she said: “The camaraderie was brilliant. When you work so closely with people, you become like a family. It’s quite devastating.”

> Tring man David Thomas added his concerns from a patient’s perspective.

He says his family have been left in the dark after his 93-year-old father was due to go into Gossoms End for care.

Mr Thomas, who has been caring for his elderly father at his home after his discharge from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said: “I’m feeling pretty angry at the moment because no one seems to be able to give us any answers.

“We’re in limbo.

“The intention was, that after he came out of Stoke, he was going to go to Gossoms End 
for rehabilitation care.

“They said he was perfectly okay to return to his normal mode, but he isn’t mobile enough. We don’t know what the plan is from here.”