Staff at a rehabilitation ward which has been shut down on a ‘temporary’ basis are asking people to get behind them and tell the NHS how vital the service is.
Employees from the Chiltern Ward at Gossoms End Community Hospital were told they were to be ‘re-deployed’ to other units in the county after health bosses closed the unit due to overspending on agency staff.
David Law, chief executive at the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, says the aim is to reopen in April next year but he could offer ‘no guarantee’ this would happen.
Therapy assistant Michele Howson, who has been relocated to St Peter’s Ward at Hemel Hempstead Hospital, said: “I have worked at Gossoms End for seven years, and they have been the best years of my working life. This is like having the rug ripped out from under our feet.
“We have one chance to have our say and make a difference to whether we will be reunited in April next year.
“Chiltern Ward isn’t just any old hospital ward. If we remain closed, patients will have to travel further to get the treatment they need to go home independently.”
Bridget Andu, a doctor at the unit for 11 years, said: “It’s such a shame the unit is being closed. It’s like breaking up a family.
“I did a 60-mile roundtrip to work every day and it wasn’t any effort because of the cohesive ship that was run here.
“We worked as a team like how the human body is – the sum total of many parts and organs that work together for the wellbeing of our patients.”
The ward employed nurses, doctors, therapy assistants, healthcare assistants, occupational therapists, physiotherapists catering staff and cleaning staff.
> To have your say, email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to Head Office, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, Unit 1a, Howard Court, 14 Tewin Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1BW or call 01707 388000.