A NEW facility acting as a bridge between patients leaving emergency care but who can't yet return to their homes is now operational at a Powys hospital.

Four “reablement” rooms are now in place at Knighton Community Hospital and are being used by patients from the area – people who no longer need district general hospital care but still require support before returning home.

The rooms, within the hospital’s Panpwnton Ward, are being seen as a short-term option by the local health board, which has been unable to recruit nurses and healthcare staff for the hospital in the last 12 months.

The news of the new reablement rooms was published in Powys Teaching Health Board’s (PTHB) August newsletter, providing an update on NHS Services in Knighton and east Radnorshire.

County Times:  Four “reablement” rooms are now in place at Knighton Community Hospital Four “reablement” rooms are now in place at Knighton Community Hospital (Image: None)

“In recent editions of this newsletter we have talked about our challenge to recruit inpatient nursing staff to Knighton Hospital and our decision to temporarily introduce four ‘reablement’ rooms within the hospital’s Panpwnton Ward,” reads the newsletter.

“We are delighted to say those rooms are now in place and are being used by reablement patients from the area; that is, those who no longer need district general hospital care but still need support before returning home.

“These beds are being managed by our experienced residential care team and, if required, supported by clinical colleagues including nurses and allied health professionals.

“Although there are four rooms, one of these actually has two beds in it, to allow for a family member/carer to stay with the patient.

“With this plan, more people will receive more care in their local community, reducing the need for family, friends and carers to travel to district general hospitals or other community hospitals.”

David Farnsworth, PTHB’s assistant director of community services, said: “Over recent months, we have redecorated the space to make it suitable for the reablement beds and have worked closely with Care Inspectorate Wales to make sure that the rooms are fit for purpose.

“We have also liaised with Powys County Council’s social care team so that they are aware of what we are doing in this area.

“It is early days but we are delighted with how this temporary arrangement is working.

“I must stress that we are absolutely committed to the continued development of services for people in Knighton and east Radnorshire and will be continuing to work with you to ensure a bright future for Knighton Hospital.”

Over the last three years the health board has been trying to recruit registered nurses to join the inpatient team at Knighton Hospital.

However, while there has been some interest, it has failed to generate the levels needed to run a ward 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

PTHB revealed reablement proposals initially in January, insisting any measures would be “interim”.


But a recruitment day in September proved fruitless, leaving locals were fearing the worst. 

Town representatives tried to downplay what they described as “scaremongering”. Knighton county councillors Ange Williams and Corinna Kenyon-Wade admitted proposals were far from ideal but were also not the hospital’s death knell.

“We all want it open as a proper hospital but if we can’t have it open fully surely it’s better to have it open in some capacity than not at all,” said Councillor Williams.

“It is better than nothing but it’s not what everyone wants or needs locally,” said Cllr Kenyon-Wade.

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“I’m really hoping Knighton can return. People in Knighton really want their hospital back.”

During the pandemic some services were switched from Knighton to Llandrindod Wells War Memorial Hospital.

The hospital also continues to be a hub for healthcare teams working in people’s homes across east Radnorshire.