A ward at Holme Valley Memorial Hospital is closing – and health bosses can’t say when it will re-open.
Locala, the organisation which runs the hospital, confirmed the temporary closure of the Intermediate Care Unit citing staffing reasons.
Maple Ward, which is the Holmfirth hospital’s unit for elderly and patients unable to return home, will temporarily close on Friday until further notice.
Locala say the decision has had to be taken due to insufficient staff being available to cover the ward and ensure patient safety.
The action follows a review by Locala Community Partnerships CIC, and several months of recruitment activity, and is considered to be “indicative of the recruitment difficulties currently facing NHS providers across the UK.”
A spokesperson from Locala said: “We are extremely disappointed to have to take this decision, but it is in the best interests of the patients and staff of Maple Ward.
“Maple Ward is highly regarded by patients and their families for the high quality of care it provides, but without sufficient experienced nursing staff on the ward we were unable to maintain the high standards of care that our patients have the right to expect.
“We are trying to recruit skilled, experienced nursing staff right across our services, but it’s difficult.”
Maple Ward will remain closed until Locala is satisfied that nursing staff numbers are back to a level that ensures patient safety.
Six patients currently on the ward will be placed within Locala Intermediate Care beds in other units in Greater Huddersfield or a care home that works closely with Locala.
Locala will continue to provide care and therapy so there is continuity, with Maple Ward staff following patients to their new bed where possible.
Staff will be redeployed to cover other units.
Other services which run at the hospital, which includes podiatry and neurology and dental services, are unaffected.
A staff member connected to the hospital told the Examiner: “We were told it’s a short-term measure, but it’s not the first time this has happened and a lot of people doubt it will re-open.”
Last November we reported how hospital bosses suspended new admissions to the same ward for elderly and chronically ill patients after a inspection from the Government health watchdog.