Health bosses seek to reassure staff over jobs amid hospital closures

Protest outside Beccles House, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group as governors

Protest outside Beccles House, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group as governors decide the fate of community hospitals at Southwold and Halesworth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Health bosses have sought to reassure staff working in hospitals faced with closure that they will remain in their jobs.

The Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (HealthEast), made the decision to close two hospitals and reduce beds at two others at a meeting yesterday.

Southwold Hospital and the Patrick Stead, in Halesworth, will be permanently closed and they will be replaced with out-of-hospital services and beds in care homes. Southwold has been temporarily closed since August due to staff shortages.

There will also be bed losses at Northgate in Great Yarmouth and All Hallows Hospital in Bungay.

Jonathan Williams, chief executive of East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) which provides services to the CCG, said: 'The nurses who work in the hospitals have specialist skills but, given the opportunity, many are interested in other aspects of nursing.'

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Mr Williams acknowledged that not all staff would want to work elsewhere and said ECCH would support those wanting to work in other parts of the organisation.

Andy Evans, chief executive of HealthEast, added: 'It is about being able to give confidence to those staff by working with the healthcare providers.'

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Prior to the meeting, HealthEast sought to reassure those working at the hospitals.

A spokesman said: 'Staff will be able to remain in their jobs in community hospitals until the hospitals are closed. The new system of working in out-of- hospital teams involves new skills and new roles.'

They added that there will be an application process for any new job in the out-of-hospital teams.

Mr Evans stressed that none of the closures would be implemented until new services had been introduced, adding: 'We have to look at providing care in a different way. Out-of-hospital teams are the right way to go on.'

Around 40 people turned out to the meeting at Beccles House, the headquarters of HealthEast, and Lowestoft Against the Cuts held a protest outside to demonstrate against the decision.

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