Following a meeting of the Trust Board (Tuesday 22 January 2013) a decision was taken to temporarily close Moretonhampstead Community Hospital to inpatients as of 31 January 2013, for a period of three months.
The Trust will review the closure after three months. All other clinics and outpatient sessions will continue as normal.
To mitigate the impact of this closure, the Trust is opening extra beds at Okehampton Community Hospital. Additional community health and social care nursing and therapy staff are also being provided around Moretonhampstead.
Trust Chair, Roger French, said: “The Board took the view that we could not be assured that there was sufficient consistency in the safety and quality of inpatient services provided at the hospital. It is not a decision we took lightly and in coming to it, we took into account the views of clinicians and support staff working in the Moretonhampstead area. The Board felt strongly that this action was required in consideration of the best interests of our patients.
Following a Care Quality Commission inspection in 2012, we have taken actions to address their and our concerns regarding maintenance of core clinical skills, but these actions have not been enough to overcome the difficulties we face in Moretonhampstead. We are not prepared to continue providing an inpatient service at Moretonhampstead under these circumstances.”
Dr John Coop, Associate Medical Director for the Trust said: “Patient safety and the quality of the care we provide is paramount. We face significant challenges providing a safe inpatient service in such a rurally isolated and small hospital. Giving staff access to sufficient numbers of patients to maintain their core clinical competencies is not possible in Moretonhampstead.”
It is the view of the senior clinicians in this Trust that these factors are preventing us from providing a safe service in the current conditions. We intend to spend the next few months reviewing the long-term provision of community services.”
There are eight inpatients currently in Moretonhampstead, four of whom are ready to leave hospital once there is a break in the weather. We are not admitting any more patients to the hospital. All patients currently in Moretonhampstead will be discharged safely and in the normal way to avoid unnecessary transfers. The date of 31 January allows for the safe and planned discharge of patients to their home or another setting.
In addition to opening the extra beds at Okehampton, we are increasing the provision of community health and social care support to patients in the Moretonhampstead area.
Moretonhampstead has nine beds, but often has less than 75% occupancy.
The Trust employs eight nursing staff (including the Matron) and seven support staff at Moretonhampstead.
The recent Care Quality Commission report can be found here