A COMMUNITY hospital is to temporarily close its doors amid a staff shortage.

Bishop's Castle Community Hospital has confirmed today that it is to be closed amid safety concerns.

Shropshire Community Health Trust cited a long-term problem with recruitment as the key reason for the closure, adding that the problem had become particularly acute over the last six months.

A statement released by the trust this morning read: “Shropshire Community Health Trust (SCHT) can today confirm that Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital is set to be temporarily closed on safety grounds.

“SCHT is committed to providing high quality care, and this has proved to be extremely challenging at Bishop’s Castle due to long-standing staffing issues.

“Recruitment has been a problem for several years. For the last six months it has become extremely difficult to maintain the qualified staffing levels required to run the hospital. This has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has and continues to impact us severely.

“We have been actively managing the issues with our fantastic staff, but despite their best endeavours we have been unable to secure the right level of substantive staff to deliver optimum care to patients."

The hospital will close to new admissions at the end of this week, the trust added, with current inpatients to be discharged by the end of the month.

“We have therefore taken the difficult decision as a trust to temporarily close the hospital," the statement added.

"New admissions will cease from the end of the week. All current inpatients will be assessed and discharged to the appropriate place of care by Sunday 31 October 2021.

“As part of our system Local Care Transformation Programme, we will continue with our plans that aim to engage, involve and co-design new models of care with residents and communities, with a focus on prevention and promoting good health and wellbeing. The first phase of our engagement will commence during the winter months.”