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First nurse back at Wells hospital

PUBLISHED: 14:41 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 October 2010

RICHARD PARR

The long-awaited re-opening of Wells Hospital took a major step forward yesterday when a senior nurse started work there.

It will be the first real tangible sign that things are starting to happen within the old wards at the hospital which closed in late 2004.

RICHARD PARR

The long-awaited re-opening of Wells Hospital took a major step forward yesterday when a senior nurse started work there.

It will be the first real tangible sign that things are starting to happen within the old wards at the hospital which closed in late 2004.

The move comes at the same time that it has been revealed that the hospital could re-open on September 4.

The double dose of good news comes just a few weeks after health chiefs gave approval for the much-loved community hospital to be run by a charitable trust known as the Wells Hospital & Hospice Trust.

Louise Bennett, a district nurse attached to Burnham Market surgery, will be spending two days a week at the hospital on secondment. She will be working with the charitable trust team and colleaques from the West Norfolk Primary Care Trust.

She said she is very excited about the challenges of her new role. One of her main tasks will be identifying the needs of future nursing staff and to prepare for September's re-opening.

Mrs Bennett has specialised in community care during her degree studies. She was recently seconded to the University of East Anglia as a lecturer/practitioner in the care of older people.

"In my role at the Wells Hospital I will be looking at a range of issues, including recruitment of nursing staff. The needs of the local population will be a driving factor," she said.

She will be involved in establishing links with various agencies, including Social Services and voluntary organisations, to look at the sort of services that are need and can be provided when the hospital re-opens.

Save Wells Hospital chairman and Trustee Peter Rainsford has welcomed the appointment of Mrs Bennett saying it is another significant step forward.

"We are delighted that we have the services of Mrs Bennett for two days a week. She will play a key part in our preparations for re-opening the hospital on September 4," said Mr Rainsford.

As has previously been announced, it is unlikely that in-patient beds will be available for some time after the opening because the plans include considerable building work at the site.

Just a few weeks ago champagne corks were popping when North and West Norfolk Primary Care Trusts gave their backing to the hospital being managed by a charitable trust. It followed a vigorous Eastern Daily Press-backed community campaign to get the hospital re-opened.

Mr Rainsford and other members of the team are well aware they now have a lot of work ahead of them.

But they have publicly said that they have the expertise and enthusiasm to carry the project through and see the hospital re-opened as a medical centre of excellence with a range of clinical services and with a hospice element.


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