Derbyshire hospital ward closes temporarily on safety grounds

The temporary closure begins on Wednesday September 13.
The temporary closure begins on Wednesday September 13.

A Derbyshire hospital ward is to close temporarily on safety grounds.

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation has taken the decision to close Hudson Ward at Bolsover from today (Wednesday). The move follows 15 months of uncertainty about how the NHS should look after patients in North Derbyshire, as well as difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified nursing staff at two inpatient wards, the trust says.

Additional beds are being provided at Clay Cross Hospital and other facilities in the north of the county after the decision was taken on safety on grounds to protect patients and ensure nursing staff are not stretched too thinly. The trust said this change will enable safe staffing levels to be met on one ward and ensure increased care is also available to patients in the community by expanding the integrated community care team in the area.

Carolyn White, Chief Nurse at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been closely monitoring the staffing levels on the two wards and despite significant efforts to recruit additional nurses, we have now reached the point where it is very difficult to cover the rotas consistently.

“So we have taken the difficult decision to close Hudson Ward at Bolsover temporarily, to help stabilise the staffing situation. We have to consider the pressures on our staff and the effects on our patients of trying to keep the ward open, which we considered was just not safe to do.”

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust has the backing of health and social care partners involved in 21C Better Care Closer to Home as the measures being put in place in response to the operational staffing issues are in line with plans agreed in July this year, for how services for older people in need of rehabilitation or those with dementia, will be delivered in North Derbyshire in the future.

Jim Austin, Associate Director of Transformation at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, added: “These changes have not been scheduled as part of the Better Care Closer to Home plans but our response to this situation is taken in the light of the plans and in the knowledge that we need to be well prepared as we approach winter. We are committed to ensuring that our services are safe and of high quality whilst managing this challenging transition.”

Hudson Ward provides rehabilitation care predominantly to elderly patients recovering from illness or injury.

Jim added: "In no way does this detract from the excellent care which Hudson Ward staff members have delivered to their patients. We are very grateful to them for their support and commitment. Their individual professionalism, skills and experience will continue to be vital to us in caring for patients, both at Clay Cross and in the local community.”