Norfolk’s largest hospital closes 68 beds across three wards in temporary measure to cut staff costs
PUBLISHED: 08:30 31 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:57 31 August 2016
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Nearly 70 beds have been closed across three wards at Norfolk’s biggest hospital this month, it has emerged.
But the changes at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital – to Cringleford, Edgefield, and Holt wards – are only “temporary”, according to senior chiefs.
The decision to close 68 beds across the wards has been made in a bid to reduce spending on temporary nursing.
Last month the N&N was placed in financial special measures. The hospital trust faces a deficit of more than £30m this year.
Richard Parker, chief operating officer, said it is expected the wards will reopen in around eight weeks time – when 100 newly qualified nurses from University of East Anglia start work at the hospital.
He said the hospital is taking advantage of a seasonal low in patients to consolidate staff onto fewer wards and make savings in agency staffing.
The changes have been made possible because of improvements in the emergency department (A&E) performance and reducing the number of patients staying longer than 14 days, he said.
Bill Adnams, a member of the Norfolk branch of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, said: “This was predictable and it’s a result of the five-year forward plan for the NHS.
“I think these will be permanent closures. That’s the whole point of these programmes; they’re happening across the country and they will have devastating effects on the NHS.”
There are around 1,200 beds for patients at the N&N.
Meanwhile hospital bosses at James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn said there were no planned bed closures this year.
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