EXCLUSIVE: Hospital ward caring for dying patients in Ely set to close for “six to eight weeks”
16:59 29 January 2013
A HOSPITAL ward caring for elderly and dying patients in Ely is set to close for eight weeks, the Ely Standard can reveal.
The Welney Ward at the Princess of Wales Hospital, off Lynn Road, is understaffed and a recent recruitment campaign to bring in six new nurses has failed, leaving bosses with little choice but to transfer patients to alternative facilities.
Hospital bosses say patients will be moved out from Thursday and the ward is expected to remain closed for six to eight weeks while a new recruitment campaign is undertaken.
Cambridgeshire Community Services, which handles the day-to-day running of the hospital told the Ely Standard: “Patient safety is the trust’s priority. We have been experiencing significant staffing issues on the ward in recent weeks that led to us temporarily closing the ward to new admissions in the New Year.
“Whilst staffing levels on the ward have been maintained to ensure the provision of high quality care to the current 12 patients, the planned recruitment to two ward-based leadership posts and six nursing vacancies has not been successful.
“If the ward were to remain open, we would continue to need a high proportion of temporary agency staff on the ward which is not in line with best nursing practice.
“As a result, the trust has taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the ward with effect from 9am on Thursday, January 31, whilst a further comprehensive recruitment campaign is implemented.
“A clinical review of the 12 patients on the ward has been undertaken to identify the most appropriate alternative facility to meet their needs. Planned discharges home or to residential/nursing facilities where programmes of inpatient rehabilitation are complete will continue to be implemented with the involvement of the trust’s social care and therapy staff.
“Depending on the individual needs of the remaining patients, these patients will transfer to alternative trust facilities within the trust depending on where their individual needs can be best met. Where possible Welney Ward staff will transfer during this temporary closure with existing Welney patients to alternative facilities to ensure continuity of care
“We recognise that this is an unsettling time for patients but our priority is to ensure patient safety. We will work closely with patients and their relatives to ensure a smooth transfer to new facilities. Subject to successful recruitment, our aim is to re-open the ward within the next 6-8 weeks when the ward will continue to play a key role in ensuring high quality care for local people.”