Hospital ward to remain shut
HEALTH chiefs have warned that a 10-bed ward at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech will stay closed at least until April. Faced with a mounting cash crisis, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust ordered the closure on January 16 and has now told a health ser
HEALTH chiefs have warned that a 10-bed ward at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech will stay closed at least until April.
Faced with a mounting cash crisis, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust ordered the closure on January 16 and has now told a health service watchdog there are no immediate plans to re-open the Carlisle intermediate care ward.
"They've told us they simply can't staff all the beds at the North Cambs," said Councillor Geoffrey Heathcock, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council's health and adult care social care scrutiny committee.
"We received the interim statement on the closure of the beds with considerable anxiety about what this may hold for the future," he said.
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He said he had been assured this did not mean permanent closure, although with a financial crisis in the PCT and an ongoing review community hospitals in the county, there were few guarantees for the future.
"We have been given no hints of permanent closure of beds," said Cllr Heathcock. "If there was even half a hint then we would be in there, so to speak, with a shotgun ready but we have to wait and see what proposals they come out with."
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He added: "In recent weeks I know there have been further financial problems; the picture doesn't get any brighter. They are in a mega-mess. Of that there's no doubt."
Cllr Heathcock said any prospect of reviving the plans for a new community hospital in Wisbech now looked to be "pie in the sky".
He added: "We are watching the situation like hawks. Doddington Hospital will inevitably come back into the hospital bed provision review."
The PCT said it was unable to given details of when the beds would be made available again at Wisbech, but a county-wide review of all community hospital provision was under way.