A decision has been made today (15 December 2016) that the ten inpatient beds at Minehead Community Hospital will move temporarily to Williton Community Hospital to guarantee safe levels of nursing staff for our patients.
Andy Heron, Chief Operating Officer, announced the decision after it was clear that difficulties in recruiting nurses in West Somerset were going to continue into the New Year. He explained the decision and said: “We have been monitoring nursing vacancies in West Somerset for a number of months, working hard to recruit new nurses from the surrounding area and from further afield. We have exhausted all recruitment possibilities and continue to suffer from a national shortage of registered nurses. We cannot recruit enough permanent nurses to provide safe numbers of staff for each shift across both Minehead and Williton hospitals.
“We have therefore decided temporarily to consolidate inpatient beds into the one hospital for West Somerset. Staff and patients will start moving in the lead up to Christmas so that we can have better resilience for staff and safer numbers of nursing staff for our patients.
“We are working with staff, our patients, and their families and carers to ensure a quick, dignified and safe transfer between hospitals. We are grateful to our staff who are working hard to help make the move as smooth and safe as possible.
“This is a temporary solution. We hope to re-open Minehead’s hospital beds as soon as we can recruit more nurses but this is not likely to be for several months. We will, of course, keep the situation under constant review and re-open sooner if possible.
“I know this will cause concern to residents of Minehead and surrounding villages but this is a decision made in the best interests of safe care to patients and sustainable levels of staffing."
The temporary closure is for the inpatient ward only. All other services, including day services, MIU and outpatient appointments, will continue as normal.