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Hospital ward to go in drive to save money
A HOSPITAL ward in Worcester is being axed as part of continuing efforts to save money, it has emerged.
The Highfield ward at Worcestershire Royal Hospital is being closed at the end of next week. The facility, which has 22 beds, acts as a trauma and rehabilitation section of the building for recovering patients.
The move has angered some nurses, but health chiefs say there is just one patient currently using a bed and the ward is no longer needed.
Patients will instead be housed at community care centres elsewhere in Worcestershire, such as Malvern and Evesham community hospital.
The move will not lead to any job losses as the nurses and staff on the ward will be transferred elsewhere.
One source, who refused to be named, said: “Many of the nurses have worked together on the ward for many, many years.
“They are a good, tight unit and work well together as a team. It’s not good they are being broken up.”
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust needs to claw back £50 million over the next three years. The £50 million is only the trust’s share of savings of between £150 million and £200 million which must be trimmed across the NHS in Worcestershire by 2015/16.
The trust refused to say how many nurses work at the ward or how much cash it is likely to save, but confirmed there will be no job losses. A spokesman said: “Highfield has historically supported the trust in meeting its emergency targets and winter pressures, and is a ward that we have had open to house patients who no longer require an acute bed.
“It is important that our patients continue their treatment and recuperation in community hospitals or social care hospitals.
“The closure of the ward has been planned for several months. But thanks to the support of our partners across the county, we have been able to realise this important step in patient care by moving patients to an appropriate facility faster than we had originally planned.
“This means that by the end of the week, patients in need of less acute medical treatment will be treated closer to home.”