Stroke beds at Williton Community Hospital temporarily re-open to meet increase in patient demand

Date: 26 September 2017

Six stroke beds, previously closed at Williton Community Hospital in 2016, will re-open next week to meet an increase in patients needing rehabilitation in a community hospital following a stroke

To support the increase in stroke beds, nurses will temporarily move from Dene Barton Community Hospital in Cotford St Luke to provide enough staff for the six stroke beds to re-open.

Given the shortage of nurses across Somerset, and difficulty in recruiting new staff, nursing staff from Dene Barton will be needed to re-open the stroke beds.

Andy Heron, Chief Operating Officer, explained the decision and said:

“It has become clear there is a pressing clinical need for more stroke beds in the community. In recent months more people in Somerset have been suffering strokes. Once a stroke has been stabilised, diagnosed and treated in a district general hospital, many need a programme of rehabilitation at home or in a community hospital as part of their recovery.

“To help care for this rise in stroke patients we have agreed to re-open six of Williton’s stroke beds. This will help speed up discharge for those patients well enough to leave a district general hospital but still needing hospital care and rehabilitation.

“In order to safely staff the new beds, nurses are needed quickly. Dene Barton is part of the West Somerset cluster of hospitals and closer than most other hospitals. As the smallest hospital ward in the area, the decision means fewer patients and carers are affected.”

The increase in stroke beds will bring the total to 12 dedicated stroke beds at Williton Community Hospital. Dene Barton Hospital has 8 beds currently and four additional rehabilitation beds have been opened at Minehead Community Hospital which means that there will be a gain of two hospital beds for West Somerset.

Andy Heron explained the next steps and said:

“We will be working with staff, our patients, and their families and carers to ensure a quick and safe transfer over the next few days for any patients who have to move hospitals. We are grateful to our staff who will work hard to help make the move as smooth and safe as possible.

Dr Rob Whiting, consultant stroke physician at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We are pleased that Somerset Partnership is opening six additional stroke rehabilitation beds in the community. We have been seeing a higher than usual number of stroke patients at Musgrove recently and this additional bed capacity will mean we can safely discharge more patients back into the community for rehabilitation, freeing up acute beds for those who urgently need them.”

The temporary closure is for Luke Ward only. Lydeard Ward, the neurological rehabilitation unit run by Musgrove Park Hospital, will continue as normal.