15 October 2021
Dunne comments on temporary closure of Bishops Castle Hospital

Local MP, Philip Dunne, has called for the safe resumption of services at Bishops Castle Community Hospital as soon as possible, following announcement of a temporary closure.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (Shropcom), which runs Bishops Castle’s hospital, has had longstanding issues attracting qualified nursing staff to run the hospital safely, so has relied on agency staff. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation, and recently shifts have been run with between 75% and 100% of nurses on duty being agency staff, with concerns about patient care.

The Trust has decided to close the hospital to new admissions, and it is anticipated all remaining patients will have been transferred off site or discharged by 31st October.

Mr Dunne said:

“I have discussed this planned closure to new admissions with Shropcom’s new Chief Executive, who has assured me this a temporary measure, pending recruitment of new qualified nursing staff. While it is not clear how long this will take, I have been assured that the decision has been taken on patient safety grounds, and once sufficient staff have been recruited, the hospital will resume normal service.

“The hospital at Bishop’s Castle has been dependent on qualified agency nursing staff, in recent weeks, which is not sustainable. While new staff are being recruited, I am concerned to ensure that existing staff are deployed in the local community or at Ludlow Community Hospital, to give them the stability they need during the interim period. I know the excellent GP medical practice in Bishop’s Castle is working closely with the Community Trust and hospital staff to provide advice and support to local patients.”

Dr Adrian Penney, of Bishops Castle Medical Practice, added:

“The Practice has and will continue to support the Hospital, and recognises the loyalty and commitment of all the staff and is determined to retain them to work locally in the community they know. The Practice would like this to be an opportunity to develop the provision of other medical services locally in the community.”