We provide a selection of news stories from local papers across the UK, to illustrate current events concerning community hospitals.
A health trust that can trace its roots back nearly 150 years is to close with the loss of 280 jobs.
All Hallows Healthcare Trust said financial difficulties were behind the decision made "with enormous sadness".
The private trust cares for more than 250 people every day from its sites in Lowestoft in Suffolk and Ditchingham in Norfolk.
A spokeswoman said trustees "accept it is now impossible to balance income and costs on an ongoing basis".
"We cannot see a way to remain open as reserves are running out," she added.
All Hallows runs a 30-bed hospital, a 50-bed nursing home, a home care services and daycare at the hospital.
The CHA was represented at a public meeting by Chris Humphris, who raised questions about the reasons behind the funding levels, and also proposed a local community group be established to work with commissioners to try and safeguard local health and social care services.
CHA Supports Community Voice in North Staffs on Community Hospitals
The community made sure that their voice was heard at a CCG public meeting in Leek Moorlands, where the CCG plans to significantly reduce community hospital beds across North Staffordshire were discussed. The CHA was represented through Chris Humphris, who raised important questions on the rationale for the proposed permanent reduction. Chris was interviewed by the local radio, and you can hear this by following this link. Just scroll down to interview 5, and you can hear how the CHA contributes to local issues and supports communities to have a voice regarding their future health and care services.
Professor Jon Glasby speaking on Community Hospitals
Professor Jon Glasby presents the key findings of the report which shows that community hospitals are valued and trusted by patients and communities. Jon Glasby talks of decisions on health provision being driven by "value for money." Jon Glasby asks whether we should not focus as much as the "value" as the "money" - and have a broader notion of what matters to local people when we are deciding about the future of local services.
Rothbury Hospital, Northumbria
The future of Rothbury Hospital is being debated following Northumberland County Council’s referral to the Secretary of State regarding the process used by the local NHS which resulted in beds being closed. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) concluded that there were flaws in the engagement and consultation processes and that further action locally is required. The Council has been asked by the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, to have further local discussions and report back by the end of January. Community campaigners have developed a vision for the hospital and are encouraging local people to support the reinstatement of the beds, and expansion of services in the hospital.
Wellington Community Hospital inpatient beds remain closed
Wellington Community Hospital will be closed to inpatients for longer than planned as it cannot currently "safely re-open" Inpatient beds were due to be occupied again later this month. This week's decision by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the facility to remain mothballed follows a review of nursing staffing levels across all community hospitals. A spokesman said: "Recent changes in staffing which mean that the inpatient ward at Wellington Community Hospital cannot safely reopen as planned." Read more
More planned healthcare should be delivered in Montgomeryshire says AM
"I have expressed the view that, alongside the proposed reconfiguration of services in Shropshire, it is essential that some planned care is delivered locally in our local community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth, to prevent the need to travel out of county to see a consultant. Moving forward, I will continue to campaign for NHS services to be delivered as close as possible to home and I have previously called on the Welsh Government to allocate additional funding to Powys Teaching Health Board for minor injury units and develop a Community Hospital Development Fund to encourage the innovative use of community hospitals across rural Wales. This would making community hospitals more sustainable and ensure that any additional economic, social and psychological burden of travelling further to access planned care or visiting friends and family is minimised." Read more
Birthing services at Okehampton Hospital suspended for THREE MORE MONTHS ahead of review
Birthing services at Okehampton Community Hospital are to remain suspended for a further three months — meaning the service has remained shuttered for more than 18 months. The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) have confirmed to the Times that the suspension of deliveries and overnight stays, due to unsafe staffing levels, is to continue until at least April, when the service will be reviewed.
Fears raised over future of Ripon Community Hospital
Health campaigners have raised fears about the future of community hospitals in North Yorkshire, including Ripon’s. At a North Yorkshire scrutiny of health committee meeting, former chairman John Blackie said Ripon Community Hospital, among others, has a ‘question mark’ over its future, despite being a much-valued facility. Mr Blackie said: “Community hospitals are hugely valued and are seen as essential facilities by those the NHS is here to serve. They are under threat.” Campaigners said they believe severe budgetary pressures facing the NHS in the county could lead to the closure or further downgrading of hospitals, including those at Whitby, Ripon, Richmond and Malton. Read more
Government announces £8m to change health services in Hinckley
But there are fears for the future of the Mount Road Hospital A combined day case surgery and endoscopy unit will be created at Hinckley Community Hospital with day-case beds, which will provide an increased range of day case procedures and cancer screening services for local patients. The out-of-hours primary care service from Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital into the new developed Urgent Care Hub in Hinckley Health Centre providing out-of-hours care for patients. “The investment means we can upgrade and improve facilities to ensure we can provide the highest standards of care quite rightly expected by people.”
Dene Barton and Chard Community Hospitals will remain closed until at least March 2019
BREXIT, the loss of bursaries and the lack of a university in Somerset have all been blamed for two community hospitals remaining closed Ethna Bashford, the trust’s director of patient care, said Brexit had impacted on recruitment, with a number of European nurses returning overseas. The Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the county’s community hospitals, has confirmed Wellington community hospital’s inpatient ward will reopen in the new year. But the “fragile” staffing levels mean the inpatient wards at Chard and Dene Barton will not re-open until March 2019 at the earliest. Read more
Staffing crisis leads to further weekend closures at “vital” hospital unit
A recurring recruitment crisis has forced a “vital” Perthshire hospital unit to cancel all weekend openings for the rest of the year. NHS Tayside has confirmed restricted hours will stay in place at the minor injuries unit at Pitlochry Community Hospital throughout December. Hours were slashed at the hospital unit earlier this summer as a result of problems recruiting staff. SNP councillor Mike Williamson said the recruitment crisis was part of a wider issue. He said: “We need to look at the reasons we are struggling to bring new people into this area. Ongoing concerns about Brexit and Pitlochry High School, as well as a drop in EU migration, don’t help.” Read more
Rehabilitation unit will treat patients at home as well as at hospital under new plans
Patients with neurological or brain injury rehabilitation needs will receive specialist support in their own home and in hospital under new plans agreed this month. Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will lead the operation, which will include a new community outreach service as well as inpatient beds on the Chatsworth Ward at Mansfield Community Hospital. In August 2017, the Trust said it was considering stopping the "unsustainable" service and closing the hospital's 16-bed Chatsworth ward. However, following consultation from the public, both the Trust and the CCG said the unit would be kept open. Read more
Community Hospitals - The Last of a Dying Breed
An excellent and very well-informed article by Helen Beetham regarding Totnes community Hospital, which also talks about the impact of closures of community hospitals and services across Devon. A must-read, and a cautionary tale for other areas following a similar strategy of reducing valued rural services.
Two Community Hospitals to close over winter
Two of Somerset’s community hospital wards will remain closed until the spring - Chard and Dene Barton. There are high levels of staff vacancies at others – particularly Minehead, Wincanton, West Mendip and Bridgwater. The trust that runs community hospitals is struggling to find more nurses
Clevedon Community Hospital Praised
Clevedon hospital had a PLACE inspection and was praised for cleanliness and its dementia-friendly environment.
Rothbury Hospital, Northumberland
The community of Rothbury are still waiting for a response from the Secretary of State on the outcome of an initial assessment from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel on the case put forward by the Local Authority that due process was not followed by the NHS in closing the 12 bed ward in the hospital.
Hundreds March to Protest Hospital Closure - Wantage Hospital, Oxfordshire
In Wantage, the community has been protesting about the plans to marched to protest about the plans to close their community hospital beds.
Citizens Jury Help to Choose Location for New Community Hospital
A specially formed Citizens Jury made up of local people was asked to put forward one of a possible three locations for a new Community Hospital in the Forest of Dean to replace two community hospitals – Lydney and Dilke. The jury voted Cinderford as the preferred location and this has been ratified.
NHS community hospitals: meet the residents fighting to save ‘vital’ local lifelines
An important article which includes a summary of the position of community hospitals in STPs, and sets out their role in integrating services. The article contains interviews with residents of campaign groups for community hospitals including Wantage in Oxfordshire; two hospitals in the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire - Lydney and Dilke; Portland hospital in Dorset and Babbington hospital in Derbyshire.
Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has been placed in ‘Segment 1’ by an independent organisation called NHS Improvement which supports trusts across the country to provide safe care to patients. The health and care trust runs the county’s community hospitals, minor injury units, recovery wards, community/district nursing and therapy services as well as a range of mental health care.
A DECISION to refurbish and reopen Castleberg Hospital in Giggleswick has been welcomed by Skipton MP Julian Smith. A meeting of the governing body of the Airdale, Wharfdale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Settle voted unanimously to keep the ten bed hospital open. The decision was taken to continue to provide inpatient care in the community and repair and restore Castleberg Hospital but in a redesigned way that will be determined with the involvement of the local community. Castleberg Hospital was closed a year ago.
"Community hospitals are a vital part of the range of services we want to see in our NHS"
Theresa May, Prime Minister on 16th May 2018 (Hansard PMQ)
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP asked the PM in Prime Minsters Question time: “Does the Prime Minister agree that the NHS should be investing in community hospitals?"
Theresa May responded that she agreed that "Community hospitals are a vital part of the range of services we want to see in our NHS".
The MP said: “The 12 in-bed provision at Rothbury Community Hospital in my constituency was removed without adequate consultation back in September 2016.
The Save Rothbury Hospital campaign and I have worked closely together to get transparency on that decision and return the in-bed provision for our vast and sparsely populated Coquet valley.”
The matter has been referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Campaign highlights importance of getting hospital patients out of bed earlier
That's the key message of a national challenge for the NHS in Cumbria as staff and families take part in a national challenge designed to show the benefits of getting patients to move. Community hospitals staff will also reaffirm their commitment to helping more patients to get dressed and moving by revisiting pledges from last year and continuing to raise awareness. This year, NHS England has set wards across the country a “70 day challenge” in order to get as many patients as possible up, dressed, and moving. Read more
Holsworthy Community Beds to Reopen
Beds at the town’s hospital were temporarily closed back in March 2017, with Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) citing ‘significant’ safety concerns. However, healthcare commissioner Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) has now written to the NDHT to formally request a programme to reopen beds. In a statement, the CCG said it was ‘no longer able to support’ the closure. Read more
Community Hospital Beds could reopen in June
Inpatient wards at Somerset’s community hospitals could begin re-opening as early as June, provided that more nurses can be recruited. The Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust operates 13 community hospitals across Somerset, providing more than 200 inpatient beds. Chard and Shepton Mallet’s hospitals saw their in-patient wards temporarily closed in October, along with one of the two wards at Dene Barton hospital in Cotford St Luke near Taunton. Now the trust has stated that it is “optimistic” that one of the sites could reopen soon as it strives to recruit more nurses from outside the European Union. Andy Heron, the trust’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer said:“We very, very much value our community hospitals. They will be part of the landscape going forward.” Read more
Ceremony to officially open £417,000 Unit at hospital
The inpatient unit at Clevedon’s North Somerset Community Hospital has been officially reopened after a £417,000 revamp. The building, made up of the Elton Rehabilitation Unit and Lister Ambulatory Unit, had been closed for almost two years. The number of beds has been reduced from 17 to 11, comprising three ambulatory care beds and eight rehabilitation beds. Read more
Campaigners say “stop” to community hospital hub roll-out
Local people are protesting about the planned roll out of community hubs in Buckinghamshire. Community beds have been closed in community hospitals to create the hubs. The Trust has said “Our aim in developing community hubs has been, through prevention and early intervention, to provide more care closer to home.”
Close “lavish offices” instead of Thirsk hospital, says Peer
A MEMBER of the House of Lords says the NHS should have closed some of its “lavish offices” instead of Thirsk’s Lambert Hospital, as she calls on the head of NHS England to overrule the decision. The Lambert Memorial Hospital closed in 2015, when South Tees NHS Hospital Trust announced the 14-bed facility would be temporarily shut with immediate effect, saying it was unable to find enough qualified nursing staff to operate the hospital safely. In an unprecedented move, councillors from Sowerby Parish Council, Thirsk Town Council, Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council formed the Lambert Hospital Action Group. The group, led by Hambleton council, wanted to purchase the building and use it as a health and community facility. Read more
£90,000 grant for study on ageing Evesham Hospital
As part of the national One Public Estate programme, £90,000 has been secured for a feasibility study which will look at either enhancing the current Waterside site, or for a new hospital to be built nearby. Sarah Dugan, chief executive at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said” The hospital is valued by the trust and the local community and while there may be changes to the types of services it provides in the future, this announcement is further evidence of our commitment to providing well-utilised local services Evesham.” Read more
Southwold Hospital Acquired by Community Group
From left: Bill Hancock, Will Windell, LV (Chairman), Jessica de Grazia (Deputy Chair),
Gail Ferguson (Secretary), Martin Culwick (Treasurer) and Marianne Greening.
The President of the CHA, Dr Helen Tucker has said:
17th Jan 2018
Campaigners fighting to save a community hospital are appealing for support to re-open it. The group feel “let down” by a lack of action from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Councillor Jenny Hannaby, chairman of the Wantage Hospitals League of Friends said: “It’s been well over a year since the hospital has been closed, and part two of the consultation that we were promised in October 2016 still hasn’t taken place.” Read more
60 years of help to Westbury Community Hospital
15th Jan 2018
The Westbury and District League of Friends, who raised more than £1.5m towards the town’s old community hospital and other charitable causes over its 60-year history has folded. Its former chairman Erica Watson said “I have been part of the league for more than 20 years and it has been a real honour to play a part and helping others, we can all be very proud,” said Mrs Watson, who worked in the NHS for 50 years. Read more
New Home First Initiative Relieves Pressure on Local Hospitals
14th January 2018
Home First, a new Somerset health and social care initiative, supports people to return home as soon as possible. This is helping to manage demand on hospital beds. Although the number of people being admitted to local hospitals such as Burnham on sea has increased, the number of people facing delays in being discharged has reduced as a result of this initiative. Read more
Watch: North Devon health campaigners say care at home is not working
13th January 2018-01-22
A hard-hitting video by health campaigners says the Care Closer to Home service is not working in Devon. The video commissioned by save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) claims care quality is ‘dodgy’ for people being cared for at home instead of in hospital and says frontline staff do not have enough time to properly visit their patients. It follows the closure of beds at community hospitals across Devon, including in Torrington, Ilfracombe, Bideford and Holsworthy. Read more
Assurances sought ahead of community hospital bed closures
11th January 2018
A Cumbrian peer is calling for reassurances about the future of the three county community hospitals set to lose their beds. Lord Roger Liddle, who represents Wigton on Cumbria County Council, has written to health boss Stephen Eames asking for a guarantee in writing on funding, services and staffing. NHS bosses agreed last year to remove beds from Wigton, Maryport and Alston hospitals, instead caring for more people at home, following the controversial Success Regime consultation.They have since been working with each community to draw up a vision showing how care will be provided and hospital buildings used in other ways, such as extended clinics.
Foresters say no to closure of Dilke and Lydney hospitals
8th Jan 2018
Campaigners are demanding the NHS drops plans to close two community hospitals and replace them with a new single £11 million facility after local people rejected the idea. More than 3,000 people filled in a survey distributed across the Forest of Dean during a 12 week consultation into the plans put forward by health chiefs. Currently there are 47 beds between Lydney and the Dilke hospitals, while the minimum number of beds the new hospital would have is 24. Many others question the location of a new hospital, expressing fears that it would be difficult to reach using public transport in a rural areas, and the facilities that would be offered. Read more
CHA Letter in the Guardian
Proposals that could see the NHS renting rooms in private houses for patients recuperating after surgery are criticised by Dr Helen Tucker of the Community Hospitals Association and others, and the case is made for the vital importance of capacity for intermediate care in community hospitals. Read more...
Future of Rothbury Ward goes to the Secretary of State
Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee has voted to refer the proposed closure of Rothbury ward. Last month the joint executive board of the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) voted unanimously in favour of permanently closing the inpatient ward and shaping the existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre at the hospital. The closure is on hold and the final decision rests with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Katie Scott, from the Save Rothbury Community Hospital campaign group said at the meeting "Surely at all stages the scrutiny committee should have been consulted? It seems to us that you have been ignored," she said. "I believe today is the first opportunity in over 14 months for the committee to fully examine the proposal to take away our beds."
Shaftesbury hospital beds saved in Dorset health service shake-up
Campaigners are jubilant after winning the battle to save beds at Shaftesbury hospital as part of a Dorset-wide review of health services.
The governing body of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group voted to maintain a community hub with beds at the town’s Westminster Memorial Hospital as part of a raft of proposals that will shape the future of health care provision in the county. But the hub is set to move from the hospital site as the CCG proposal also agreed it should stay until a new model for services is established. Julian Prichard, founder of the Shaftesbury campaign group Save our Beds! said after today's meeting in Dorchester that he was delighted with the decision. Read more
The Friends of Braintree Hospital says public must have say on proposed Braintree Community Hospital Ward changes
PROPOSED changes at Braintree Community Hospital should not take place before the public have had their say, a community group has said. The Friends of Braintree Community Hospital has promised to hold the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to account over the plans, the nature of which are currently not clear. Proposals are believed to be changes to the use of beds within the Courtauld Ward - a 24-bed facility providing rehabilitation and end-of-life care for elderly patients. Read more
MP tells NHS trust not to waste time on "bogus consultation" for Holsworthy Hospital
“Sadly I am not yet convinced that the NDHT or CCG are seriously engaging in what can be described as a plan to reopen the hospital.” said Mr Cox. “I will shortly be meeting the Minister for Hospitals, Phillip Dunne MP, to discuss with him the future of our community hospitals and local health services, and, in particular the reduction of bed capacity in the local NHS.” Read more
MP Layla Moran to bring community hospital cut concerns to health minister
THE FUTURE of Abingdon Community Hospital will be discussed at a meeting between Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran and Health Minister Steven Brine.
Ms Moran will be asking for a guarantee from the Government that patients will not face bed cuts or a reduction in services at the hospital as part of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's controversial 'transformation plans'. A legal challenge to the changes was last week granted a full hearing. Ms Moran has already raised concerns about possible cuts to beds and services at the Abingdon hospital in the House of Commons and described the Marcham Road facility as a 'treasured asset'.
Potters Bar hospital fears as figures show five services cut in a year
Potters Bar Community Hospital is facing an uncertain future after it emerged that five of its services have been cut in just over a year – with more potentially at risk. Since August 2016, Royal Free has stopped its Potters Bar-based ENT (ear, nose and throat) services, dermatology, general surgery and orthopaedics. Urology was also scrapped in June 2015. Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden said: “Like many constituents I was concerned to learn about these changes to services at Potters Bar Community Hospital. “I have been in direct contact with the Royal Free to share these concerns and will soon be meeting personally with their chief executive, Sir David Sloman. “It is my understanding that the future of the hospital is fully secure, but I am seeking an urgent clarification from them and the local NHS clinical commissioning group, Herts Valley, about the reasons behind these decisions and the hospital.” Read more
Patients are being 'abandoned' despite plans to review minor injury unit closures
Withernsea Community Hospital in-patient unit was shut as a temporary measure last month. A month after its "temporary" closure Withernsea Community Hospital shows no sign of reopening to patients. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a review of controversial plans to permanently close the hospital's minor injury unit and another in Hornsea, but neither City Healthcare Partnership nor East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have said when the hospital may reopen. Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has said while he welcomes the review, it does not "allay concerns" for Withernsea Community Hospital's immediate future.
Two hospitals set to close to make way for new £11million facility
Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services which runs the county's community hospitals, said she is "excited" by the opportunity to develop new facilities in the area. We hope these new facilities will enable us to provide a wider range of services. Sometimes we're not able to provide that consistency across the two sites. Currently there are 47 beds between Lydney and the Dilke hospitals, while the minimum number of beds the new hospital would have is 24. Bed occupancy at both hospitals is often at 95 per cent, but the NHS says only half of patients at both hospitals are from the Forest of Dean. Health bosses believe 24 beds would be a "robust number to support the locality." The new publicly-funded hospital could provide an endoscopy suite, but will not include a birthing unit or operating centre.
Wait for better healthcare in Maldon district continues
Since 2003 plans have been considered for replacing the “ageing” St Peter’s Hospital with a new community hospital for Maldon. Proposals have now been unveiled for “Maldon Health Hub.” The CCG said that it should no longer be referred to as a hospital as there was no guarantee the new facility would include beds.
News stories that have been posted on the CHARM website are available to download in a pdf document