A town's hospital is set to close due to a lack of staff, an NHS trust has confirmed.

A statement from Shropshire Community Health Trust issued yesterday(October 15) confirmed that Bishops Castle Community Hospital would close 'temporarily' on safety grounds from the end of this week.

Current inpatients are set to be moved to other facilities by the end of the month, health bosses say.

"Shropshire Community Health Trust (SCHT) can today confirm that Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital is set to be temporarily closed on safety grounds," said a spokesperson for SCHT.

"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."

Bishop's Castle's 16-bed facility was redeveloped in 2010 at a cost of £1.3 million. A new entrance area, garden room extension and palliative care suite were completed as part of the works.

A review in 2017 rated Bishops Castle as the best performing community hospital in Shropshire.

The statement made no reference as to when the facility might re-open.

"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," they added.

"We have therefore taken the difficult decision as a Trust to temporarily close the hospital. 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."