Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital ward to close for eight weeks
- Credit: PA
The closure of a ward for private and teenage patients is forming part of a drive to reduce spending on locum nurses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N).
N&N chief operating officer Richard Parker confirmed that Cringleford Ward would close for eight weeks as part of a wider reshuffle of services.
Staff and patients at Cringleford Ward will be moved to other wards within the hospital.
It means the trust can reduce its expenditure on locum nurses, who are more costly.
In June the trust spent more than £1m on agency nurses, midwives, and health visiting staff – a £200,000 increase since May.
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Mr Parker said there will also be changes to Holt Ward (older people's medicine) and its partial use as a discharge lounge, and there could be bed closures in a surgical ward – though this remains under discussion between hospital managers.
During the eight weeks the Day Procedure Unit will be open for extended hours.
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Mr Parker said the hospital will be boosted by 100 newly-trained nurses, and when they start in September it is expected that wards revert to their usual roles.
The project has been made possible because 'significant progress' has been made to the flow of patients at the N&N, according to Mr Parker.
This achievement enables short-term bed closures and therefore reduction in agency staff numbers while minimising any impact on patient care,' Mr Parker said.
However, the trust is still missing the 95pc national standard to treat patients arriving in A&E within four hours.
Figures published yesterday revealed the trust achieved 88.9pc of patients, but its improvement rate is growing faster than the national average.
The target of seeing 95pc of patients in four hours or less has not been met by a major hospital in England since July 2013.