Future in doubt as Moretonhampstead community hospital closes
A Devon hospital has announced it will close for at least three months.
All in-patient services at Moretonhampstead Community Hospital will be suspended from next Friday until the end of April, during which time a review will be made.
The decision was made over safety concerns at the hospital following a meeting of the North Devon NHS Trust board earlier this week.
Roger French, trust chair, said: "The board took the view that we could not be assured that there was sufficient consistency in the safety and quality of in-patient services provided at the hospital.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"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 an inspection last year concerns were raised regarding maintenance within the hospital.
But the hospital admitted its actions to address them "have not been enough to overcome the difficulties we face in Moretonhampstead".
Mr French added: "We are not prepared to continue providing an in-patient service at Moretonhampstead under these circumstances."
Dr John Coop, associate medical director for the trust said: "We face significant challenges providing a safe in-patient 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."
Extra beds will be opened at Okehampton Community Hospital in an effort to mitigate the impact of the closure. Additional community health and social care nursing and therapy staff will also be provided around the town.