Fresh hopes over reopening date for Midhurst Community Hospital

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There is cautious optimism that Midhurst’s popular community hospital inpatient ward will be open in the autumn after a successful recruitment campaign led by the Observer, the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCT) and the Friends of the hospital.

SCT medical director Dr Richard Quirk told Friends of the hospital the trust was now in a position ‘to begin the initial phases of the process to reopen the ward later this year’.

There was dismay at the end of April, when the SCT temporarily closed the Bailey Unit, the inpatient ward caring mostly for elderly people at the hospital.

Dr Quirk told a packed public meeting in Midhurst in May the decision had been taken because the shortage of registered nurses was putting patient safety at risk.

He said he hoped to re-open the ward within two months, but no firm date has yet been given.

However, he has now told the annual general meeting of the Friends the high profile recruitment campaign had succeeded in bringing in some of the additional nurses needed.

Susan Marshall, chief nurse at the SCT, told the Observer: “We have had some good success recruiting to the vacant posts.

“I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work over the past few difficult months.”

But she stressed there was still no firm date for reopening.

“Before we can set out more concrete plans for reopening we need to be totally clinically assured that the staffing roster can be filled and maintained and that we can continue to provide care that is safe,” she said.

“It is also imperative that with many new staff all starting at the same time, they have a good induction to the unit and they feel supported in a new environment.

“We are currently undertaking that process and will be able to make further announcements soon.

Chairman of the Friends, George Marchand has welcomed the news there could be a firm reopening date for the ward soon.

“As soon as we have this the Friends can re ignite the recruiting campaign, including rotation nursing,and accommodation issues that would ensure future nursing levels,” he said.

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