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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Staff crisis forces ward closure
Nurses in a ward (generic)
A health watchdog says it is difficult to recruit nurses in Powys
A shortage of nursing staff has forced a minor injuries unit at a hospital in Powys to close overnight for the next few weeks.

Part of Montgomeryshire County Infirmary in Newtown will shutdown between 2000 and 0800 BST for 10 weeks.

A health watchdog said a lack of staff was a constant problem in the area.

Powys Local Health Board (LHB) said it was "working hard" to recruit more nurses and would review the situation if it improved before September.

In January, the elderly mentally infirm (EMI) unit at Ysbyty Bro Ddyfi in Machynlleth was in danger of closing for three months due to similar staffing problems.

However, agency nurses were drafted in to assist existing staff.

There are huge staffing problems at that particular hospital
Chris Sparrow

Montgomeryshire Community Health Council (CHC) said dwindling numbers of nurses had closed the minor injuries unit at Llanidloes hospital at various times during the last six months, although it was currently open.

A Powys LHB spokeswoman said the restrictions would operate until September.

She said: "Nurse staffing difficulties mean that, for the time being, there are not enough nurses to provide full cover for patients on the wards as well as in the minor injuries unit".

The spokeswoman added that Powys LHB was "working hard to recruit additional nurses", and should the staffing situation improve, the decision would be reviewed before September.

Chairman of Montgomeryshire CHC, Chris Sparrow, said: "There are huge staffing problems at that particular hospital.

"But it has just attracted five new members of staff and hopefully that will give it more stability in the future."

Mr Sparrow added that hospital chiefs had little option but to close units if they did not have the staff.

Recruiting

"We're very, very disappointed. Welshpool hospital (15 miles away) is covering the gap," he added.

The Royal College of Nursing said recruiting was a major issue not just in Powys but throughout the UK.

A spokeswoman said: "Powys has a relatively sparse population and therefore does need to actively encourage nurses to work and live in the area.

"Powys Local Health Board is to be commended for the effort it has put into developing nursing career structures in the area."


SEE ALSO:
Powys ward closure averted
19 Jan 05 |  Mid


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