‘Emergency closure’ of hospital unit blamed on staff shortages
A lack of staff has led to the ‘emergency and temporary’ closure of the inpatient unit at Gossams End Community Hospital in Berkhamsted.
The Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT), which runs the unit, and Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees local healthcare, have been unable to say exactly when the unit will close.
They have stated that it will happen ‘in the coming weeks’, and will last until April next year.
The two organisations blame the decision on a lack of full-time staff and an unreliable supply of bank and agency workforce.
Gossoms End provides rehabilitation and halfway house care for elderly people who have recently been discharged from hospital and need support before returning home.
A spokesman from the HCT said: “A plan for the future care of our patients is being agreed with them, their families and carers.
“It is likely that a number of patients will transfer to other HCT inpatient units, such as St Peter’s Ward in Hemel Hempstead.
“Others will be able to return home supported by an appropriate community and healthcare package.”
Staff from the inpatient unit will be re-deployed to other services run by the Trust.
The issue of adequate workforce numbers and the associated safety of patients was raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its inspection visit to HCT earlier in the year.
The CQC has informed the Trust it needs to take ‘firm action’ to address the safety of the service.
A spokesman for the HCT said: “This has informed the decision to re-deploy staff from Gossoms End to other units to enhance the overall safety of the service we provide.”
These changes only relate to the inpatient services at Gossoms End and not to any other NHS services based there.
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