Gossoms End: Unit closure is ‘not about the money’

Gossoms End Community Hospital, Berkhamsted
Gossoms End Community Hospital, Berkhamsted

NHS bosses insist that the emergency closure of an OAP rehab unit is not down to money – but it will save them some cash.

Gossoms End Community Hospital in Berkhamsted, which is run by the Herts Community NHS Trust, will close ‘temporarily’ in the coming weeks until April next year.

The decision has been blamed on a lack of permanent, full-time staff but when asked if the closure was due to financial reasons, a spokesman for the Trust said: “The temporary closure won’t save the Trust any money, but will stop the continuing overspend due to the use of agency staff.

“Relying on an increased use of agency staff not only increases our costs, but it could impact on the quality of care.”

Gossoms End, which first opened as an elderly care unit in 1989, can cater for up to 20 patients at any one time but that number had to be reduced to seven because of staffing problems.

The spokesman said: “Due to the vacancies, the number of patients has been reduced in recent months to ensure all of the care and treatment they receive is of a high quality.”

Currently, the Trust says patients who were due to be admitted to the unit are being assessed individually and will either be transferred to a different unit within the county or supported in their own homes, based on their needs.

The unit’s staff are being re-deployed elsewhere within the organisation.

In an earlier statement, the Trust stressed that the emergency closure was not a permanent measure.