Staff shortages force ward closure

IPSWICH Hospital bosses have been forced to close a ward due to staff shortages.

IPSWICH Hospital bosses have been forced to close a ward due to staff shortages.

Orford Ward, one of the hospital's care of the elderly wards, was closed yesterday and patients were moved to alternative beds throughout the hospital.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “This is a temporary closure because we wanted to ensure patient safety.

“Because of our difficult financial position we have had to keep a number of vacancies open so that staff can be redeployed in to these posts.

“It left us with an issue about safe patient care in this ward and having enough staff with the correct skills to run the ward.

“Patients' safety is our priority throughout these difficult times and it was decided that the best option would be to close the ward as we had enough available beds elsewhere.”

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Orford ward is one of a number of care of the elderly wards in the north end of the site which are earmarked for closure as part of the hospital's financial recovery plan.

Ms Rowsell said the closure was not pre-judging the decisions that the hospital's board will take at their meeting next week but could not confirm how long the ward would be closed for or if it will ever open again.

She said: “If the board says yes to the plan to move the wards into the south end of the site, and if these changes are implemented quickly, then it may mean that it does not reopen.”

The restructuring of wards and closure of the north end of the hospital site could save up to £1.5m.

Other money-saving measures being proposed include axing 350 jobs, closing up to four operating theatres and reducing the number of hours consultants work.

Weblink: www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

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