Bishop’s Castle’s community hospital is set to re-open its inpatient unit after a successful recruitment programme, health bosses have confirmed.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust(SCHT) made the decision to re-open the 16-bed unit at Bishop’s Castle, which has been closed for nearly three years, at a board meeting today (Thursday, April 4).

The hospital ceased admissions to all its in-patient services at short notice in October 2021 after the numbers of nursing staff fell below safe levels, but the trust now says a dedicated recruitment programme has crossed the threshold to allow them to re-open the unit.

The SCHT says it will re-open the unit “as soon as is practically possible” after around 16 new full-time equivalent registered nurses and healthcare support workers were recruited for the hospital.


A number of staff who were in post in 2021 when the unit closed will also now be redeployed back to Bishop’s Castle.

“Following a review of the safe staffing levels, it is recommended that the Trust could safely move towards re-opening the inpatient service at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital(BCCH),” they said.

“Given the recruitment achieved to date, the Trust moves to develop and implement a mobilisation plan to re-open the inpatient service at BCCH.”

Following the meeting, Shropshire Community Health Trust says it will now begin informing staff of the decision and recommissioning services at the building.

The re-opening of the unit follows a lengthy campaign by supporters of the hospital, which saw hundreds of people march through Bishop’s Castle at an event in 2023.

County Times: The meeting over the future of Bishop's Castle Community Hospital in June 2023. Picture by Ben Jephcott.The meeting over the future of Bishop's Castle Community Hospital in June 2023. Picture by Ben Jephcott.

Dozens of supporters attended the meeting, bursting into applause when the decision was announced by SCHT Chief Executive Patricia Davies.

“A lot of care can be delivered in the community and as close to people’s home as possible, and I know that as a jobbing clinician and very proud district nurse for nearly 30 years now,” she said.

“We are not just about hospital beds, we’re about going into people’s homes and we’re about delivering care as locally as possible, and 85 per cent of what we do is in people’s homes or within local facilities like Bishop’s Castle.

“Those community hospitals are not just about the beds, they are important in terms of delivering care not just within the hospital but radiating out into those communities.”

In-patient services closed “temporarily” with two weeks notice during October 2021, after a lack of staff at the hospital made the unit unsustainable, leading to shocked local supporters forming the ‘Save Our Beds’ campaign to retain services in the town.

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In May 2023, the trust warned that the closure could become permanent if enough nurses and healthcare workers could not be found to staff the hospital.

Trust Chair Tina Long paid tribute to the efforts of the community campaign to re-open the hospital.

“We couldn’t have done this without the help and support ot the local community and everybody else who’s contributed,” she said.

“It’s really demonstrated for me a different way of working with our communities, so I want to say a huge thank you for that.”