Healthcare trust exploring if there is ‘unmet need’ for hospital beds in Holsworthy

By Zoë Uglow in Local People

THE next steps following the temporary closure of inpatients beds at Holsworthy Community Hospital have been outlined by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

The beds closed temporarily on March 31, due to what the Trust called ‘significant safety concerns’.

The Trust explained on Thursday, March 6, in order to reopen the beds, it needs to address both the staffing challenges and the low occupancy of the inpatient beds.

Because the Trust is in charge of determining its staffing needs based on the care that is provided, it says ‘the issue of low bed occupancy needs to be addressed first’.

In order to do this the Trust will need to work with community leaders and clinical stakeholders to explore how they can use the beds in Holsworthy.

The Trust said it is currently undertaking some work to ‘discover whether there is unmet need for beds in Holsworthy and Torridge’. The Trust will also be working with NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW DEVON CCG) to liase with neighbouring providers and commissioners to explore ‘whether Holsworthy can serve a wider population catchment’.

The Trust will be inviting community leaders and stakeholders to review its progress and findings together.

Since making the decision to temporarily close the beds, the Trust has held a number of public meetings and drop-ins. It also attended the Holsworthy Town Council organised meeting on April 15, it said, to give the public the opportunity to understand the rationale behind the Trust’s decision.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “These meetings have shown the strength of feeling and the Trust has heard a number of personal stories, which demonstrate the value people place on the inpatient beds.

“The teams in Holsworthy have been fully supported through this process and are all in temporary redeployments in other positions. If the occupancy issues are able to be resolved, there would still be a minimum lead-in time of three to four months to re-staff Holsworthy Hospital.

“The Trust would like to thank the community for their continued patience and understanding.”

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