Lack of nurses causes temporary closure of inpatient ward

Ten inpatient beds at a community hospital in Somerset have been temporarily moved to another hospital due to a shortage of nurses.

Ten inpatient beds at a community hospital in Somerset have been moved to another hospital due to a shortage of nurses.

Minehead Community Hospital. Picture: Alamy

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has temporarily closed Minehead Community Hospital's inpatient ward, transferring its beds to Williton Community Hospital eight miles away.

The news was revealed to staff in a letter from trust chief operating officer Andy Heron, who admitted that he expected recruitment problems to continue into the new year.

Staff search

Mr Heron said: ‘We have been monitoring nursing vacancies in West Somerset for a number of months, working hard to recruit new nurses from the surrounding area and from further afield.

‘We have exhausted all recruitment possibilities and continue to suffer from a national shortage of registered nurses.

‘We cannot recruit enough permanent nurses to provide safe numbers of staff for each shift across both hospitals.’

The trust has announced a recruitment event for nursing students seeking their first preceptor posts, but this will not happen until 10 February.

Safe transfer

Admitting that it could take ‘several months’ to complete recruitment, Mr Heron added: ‘We are working with staff, our patients, and their families and carers, to ensure a quick, dignified and safe transfer between hospitals.

‘We are grateful to our staff who are working hard to help make the move as smooth and safe as possible.’

The trust said the temporary closure is for the inpatient ward only. All other services, including day services, minor injuries unit and outpatient appointments, will continue as normal.

Further information

Student Nurse Recruitment Day

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