MINEHEAD Community Hospital beds are to re-open next month after a six-month closure due to lack of staff.
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust announced the move on Wednesday and said staffing levels were now safe following a recruitment drive for new nurses and ther return of existing staff who had been on extended leave.
The hospital’s in-patient beds will re-open on July 11.
Andy Heron, the trust’s chief operating officer, said he was delighted they could now re-open the ten hospital beds and bring six staff members back from Williton Hospital where they had been temporarily transferred.
“Recruitment has taken longer than expected and it remains difficult to recruit nursing staff while a national shortage of nurses continues,” he said.
“Thanks to matron Norma Coombes and local staff who have made time to attend and host recruitment events, we now have enough nursing staff to safely re-open beds in Minehead Community Hospital.
“Deciding to close the hospital on a temporary basis was a difficult decision but it was made in the best interests of patient safety.
“I am grateful to our staff at Minehead and Williton Community Hospitals who made the move seamless and to our patients and the local community for their patience.”
The hospital now has ten nurses and 14 health care assistants, with two more staff still to be recruited in each of these areas.
Its in-patient beds closed just before Christmas and all patients and some staff were transferred to Williton Hospital.
The closure announcement was an unexpected bombshell . The trust said although all other services would continue as normal, it was closing the inpatient beds on the grounds of patient safety because of low staffing levels.
The staffing situation had deteriorated and the hospital had a 50 per cent vacancy rate for registered nurses at the time.
The re-opening of the beds has been widely welcomed.