Bailey Unit to reopen
17 August 2016

Date set to reopen the Bailey Unit at Midhurst Community Hospital

A date has been set for the reopening of the Bailey Unit, the inpatient ward at Midhurst Community Hospital, which was temporarily closed at the end of April because a shortage of registered nurses was putting patient safety at risk.

We, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), the NHS organisation that runs the unit, had identified significant challenges staffing the Bailey Unit over many months leading up to the closure, reflecting the current national shortage of registered nurses.

An intensive recruitment campaign run by the Trust in conjunction with the Friends of Midhurst Community Hospital, and the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, has been successful in filling the large number of nurse vacancies which led to the decision to close earlier in the year.

A target opening date of Monday 19 September has been identified following detailed clinically led assessments to provide assurance that the ward could deliver safe care, and that the staffing roster could be filled and maintained. If staffing levels were to deteriorate significantly again, then that assessment would need to be revisited.

Susan Marshall, Chief Nurse at SCFT said, “It was such a tough decision to close the ward, but the risk to patients was too high and we were left with no choice. I know how tough the last few months have been for the ward staff, the Friends of Midhurst Hospital and the local community.”

“It has been a real team effort to get to this stage and I am delighted to be able to set a date to re-open the ward. I want to thank everyone who has worked night and day to recruit the much needed staff. We’ve managed to buck the national trend and fill these posts at a time when recruitment across the NHS is really difficult due to a shortage of nurses.”

“Particular thank needs to go to the ward staff who have shown their dedication and who have had to put up with so much uncertainty.”