October 16, 2021 9:39 PM
Originally published by Heather Kidd

Shropshire Councillors in the Bishop's Castle Area have reacted angrily to the sudden closure of the town's hospital on Thursday.

Heather said "What has really annoyed me is this was done almost by stealth. Very few people knew what was going to happen.

"On the very day that the closure press releases were being sent out the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee was meeting. An emergency item should have been tabled. (see note). I will be requesting that this is examined next time we meet.

"The Committee is charged looking at the winter pressure planning for our hospitals in delivering health care, especially the number of beds available. What the Shropshire Community Health Trust (who run the Bishops Castle Community hospital) should have notified the Committee and addressed the issue of removing 10 valuable hospital beds when beds are blocked at the main hospitals. This really looks as though they did not wish to discuss or reassure our residents.

"The health situation in our County is bad enough as it is without health care bodies failing to communicate with each other or our residents.

"The 10 beds at Bishop's Castle are usually full during the winter months and the hospital plays a key role for health care in a whole swather of the South West of the County. Without these local beds people from south West Shropshire will be faced with long visitor journeys and poor public transport..

"Staffing has been quoted as the main reason for the closure, but not once have they raised this as an issue with Scrutiny. Rumour has it that there are extra beds opening in Ludlow (another SCHT run hospital), if so it will be interesting to see where the additional staff will come from."

No capacity

Ruth Houghton, Shropshire Councillor for Bishops Castle Division added: "I have sought assurances that there will be no redundancies. I have expressed my concern that there may not be sufficient capacity in the local area, BC, Clun, Chirbury to accommodate people who are in a bed currently or to facilitate hospital discharges from Shrewsbury Hospital especially on brink of winter pressures


"I have also asked for more information on the length of time the hospital will be closed for, no plan or timescales have been provided

" The Community hospital in Bishop's Castle has a committed staff team who provide excellent care. It is a resource that is highly valued by the local community and this temporary closure has come has a shock to local people. It is vital that a plan is developed that will address the recruitment issues so that the hospital can reopen quickly and provide safe care for patients and a safe working environment for staff both of which is essential"



*The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) is a panel set up to scrutinize the working of health services in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. It is composed of representatives from Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Councils, Healthwatch Shropshire and a number of voluntary and professional groups in the healthcare sector