ONE of the two wards at Sheppey Community Hospital is to close, it has been announced.
All 24 beds in the ward will be gradually shut over the next few months as services develop in the community.
Health campaigners have serious concerns about the changes and have accused Primary Care Trust chiefs of running down the hospital in Minster, near Sheerness.
In response, Ali Parsons, director of services at Swale PCT, stressed services would improve. She said: “Less beds mean that additional services can be provided from the community hospital. This will include extra GPs, out-patients, ambulatory care and diagnostics.”
Mrs Parsons was speaking at the latest meeting of the Trust’s health watchdog – the Swale Patient Public Involvement Forum.
She added: “Implementing intermediate care within Swale was agreed by trust board members in December last year.
“It was agreed we would reduce beds at Sheppey Community Hospital as intermediate care services within the community developed. We want to care for people in the community rather than in the hospital.
“The community hospitals at Minster and Sittingbourne are central to the effective provision of healthcare – currently they are not fully utilised.”
PCT bosses wanted to shut wards at both Sheppey and Sittingbourne hospitals last year, but relented after concerns were raised and said the scheme would be rolled out to Sheppey if it was a success on the mainland.
FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK'S SHEERNESS TIMES GUARDIAN
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