Inpatient admissions remain suspended at Halesworth hospital
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Inpatient admissions at the Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth remain suspended due to staffing shortages.
East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) brought in the temporary suspension after concerns that staffing had reached a 'critical level' and could affect patient safety.
It came into effect on October 1 and will be reviewed again in November.
Although staffing levels still remain the same, ECCH said they have now received applications for the positions advertised at the hospital.
Adele Madin, ECCH's director of adult services, said: 'We have received a number of responses to our ongoing advertisement of posts at Patrick Stead Hospital and have interviews arranged with those applicants in November.
'In the meantime we have reviewed the position at the hospital with Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group and, as staffing levels currently remain the same, inpatient activity will continue to be suspended until our next review meeting.'
While the suspension takes place, outpatient services are being run from the hospital's physiotherapy block.
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However members of the The Rayner Green Resource Centre and Patrick Stead Hospital Support Group, which was set up last month in a bid to protect both buildings, said they have had numerous complaints from people using the outpatients service.
Dr Richard Kell, chairman of Halesworth Health and a former GP at Cutlers Hill Surgery in Halesworth, said: 'We are deeply concerned about ECCH's decision to move outpatient clinics to very inadequate facilities, with lack of space and confidentiality, in the physiotherapy block.
'If, as we were told, the bed closures upstairs are solely due to staff shortages then there is no reason to close the outpatient part of Patrick Stead Hospital downstairs. These are vital local clinics for the geographically isolated, often elderly, people of Halesworth and surrounding villages.'
The support group has been set up by representatives from Halesworth Town Council, Halesworth Health, the hospital's league of friends, Halesworth dementia Carers' Fund, The Patient Participation Group and Halesworth Day Centre to urge health bosses not to close Patrick Stead Hospital permanently.
Ms Madin said: 'Clinics have been run out of the physiotherapy block at Patrick Stead Hospital for many years. All of the compliance assessments were completed including infection control, clinical quality risk assessment and accessibility. All these assessments were compliant, so it is fit for purpose. We recognise that the waiting space can become a little cramped and therefore the situation there is being reviewed.'