Bucks Healthcare Trust (BHT) is temporarily closing the Chartridge ward at Amersham Hospital.
Despite receiving a ‘Good’ rating, the CQC has told BHT to address staffing levels. The 22 bed Chartridge Ward in Amersham Hospital will stop admitting patients from the 1st of July. This is due to a shortage of nurses and therapists.
The Trust has consulted with Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Health and Social Care Select Committee (HASC) and Buckinghamshire County Council to reach this difficult decision. Existing patients will stay on the ward until it is safe for them to leave.
From the 1st of July, patients that need rehabilitation can receive referrals for support at other local hospitals:
- Stoke Mandeville Hospital
- Buckingham Community Hospital
- Waterside ward at Amersham Hospital
BHT will not transfer patients out of Bucks unless they have requested it.
The decision to temporarily close Chartridge Ward will be reviewed in November.
Our Chief Executive, Thalia Jervis said:
It is a real shame that this ward is closing temporarily. As part of the HASC, we will be working closely with BHT during this time, to make sure the patient voice is represented and considered in any decisions about the future of the ward.
Neil Macdonald, CEO of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said:
We are disappointed that we need to temporarily close Chartridge Ward but the ongoing safety of our patients and staff is our main priority. By concentrating our staff across two wards instead of three, we will be able to ensure safe staffing at all times and provide a better experience for our patients.
We are committed to Amersham as one of the Trust’s main hospitals in the county. It provides a vital service to the local community and additional outpatient clinics are scheduled to begin welcoming new patients this summer.
Lou Patten, Chief Executive Officer for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
The challenge of maintaining sustainable, safe levels of staffing for inpatient community services is currently proving very tough in Buckinghamshire. Our county has high living costs and yet misses London salary allowances – this makes nursing vacancies less attractive than in other surrounding areas. We will be working closely with the Trust, other health and care social partners and the local community to look at the options for Chartridge Ward to find the best sustainable solutions.
Councillor Mike Appleyard, a member of HASC, said
We are disappointed that this decision has had to be taken, but fully understand the reasons behind it. Our local community can rest assured that HASC will be keeping in close contact with the Trust regarding this temporary change to inpatient services and will seek to ensure high standards of patient care remain a priority and are not compromised. We will also look carefully at the way the Trust deals with new clients requiring community care.
What do you think of this closure? Would you like to get the beds back? Or should the hospital be providing more outpatient services?
In July 2019 we sent a Freedom of Information request to BHT asking about the closure. We published the response from the Trust in September 2019.