A hospital ward is set to close because of staffing problems – forcing scores of elderly patients to move.
Care for elderly people requiring rehabilitation and palliative care is being moved out of Derwent Ward at Walton Hospital from Monday, November 25.
Instead, the patients will be cared for on newly-refurbished wards at either Bolsover Hospital or Whitworth Hospital – both up to ten miles away from Walton Hospital.
Health chiefs stressed the move would only be temporary.
William Jones, director of operations for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “Arrangements at Derwent Ward have suffered from high staff vacancy and absence rates, with care reliant upon agency workers on a daily basis.
“Despite concerted recruitment efforts we have not been able to bring in a permanent staffing solution which meets Royal College of Nursing guidelines.
“Coupled with its outdated patient environment, the current arrangements on Derwent Ward are unsustainable in the long term.
“By investing in newer facilities, more modern care arrangements and greater numbers of permanent staff, we will be able to improve the quality of care and deliver a better service for patients,” he added.
Derwent Ward has 16 beds.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust was unable to confirm how many patients would be moving.
They added: “This is not a permanent closure so we are keeping the ward available while a longer term plan is proposed.
“We’re not sure when Derwant Ward will reopen – we need to get patients safely settled into their temporary new wards first off.”
The spokesman added that Walton Hospital’s other two wards, which provide care for elderly mentally ill patients, are unaffected by the changes.
For more information about Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, log on to www.dchs.nhs.uk/home
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