Delighted campaigners have paid tribute to Bishop’s Castle’s community spirit after a decision to re-open an in-patient unit at the town’s hospital was confirmed.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust approved the re-opening of 16 beds at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital which have been closed since October 2021 due to a staffing crisis.

No fixed date has been set for the re-opening of the hospital, but the trust say they will begin working on a “mobilisation plan” to re-instate services following the decision.

The ‘Save Our Beds’ campaign group, set up to support efforts to retain services at the hospital, said they were “overjoyed” that enough staff had been recruited to open the in-patient ward again.


“A lot of hard work and effort has gone into it so far and obviously there’s a lot more to do to get the hospital back open with the mobilisation plan – but we’ve got there with the staffing threshold which has been met with us supporting the trust so we’re overjoyed with the result,” said campaigner Josh Dicken, the Mayor of Bishop’s Castle.

“It means a lot to me personally. I’ve got two members of my family who could do with being in the community hospital and there’s a lot more people I know in the community who are really desperate for the facility to be there.

“It’s a rural area with a lack of public transport and it’s desperately needed – in a rural area such as ours Bishop’s Castle acts as a hub for south-west Shropshire.

“The community feeling is definitely there. Every time we’ve asked the community to come out and support us they have. ”

Shropshire Councillor for Bishop’s Castle Ruth Houghton was involved in the recruitment programme which allowed the hospital to re-open, and she paid tribute to the efforts of the campaign group, describing the decision as “fantastic news for the whole of south-west Shropshire”.

“All credit to the Save Our Beds group who’ve done a great job – It just goes to show what a determined community can achieve,” she said.

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“It was a real pleasure to be involved in interviewing staff here. The nurses who came through for interview were excellent, the recruitment campaign was fantastic and the Save Our Beds group have done an absolutely cracking job and it’s just been wonderful.

“It means we’ve got a local health service, and a local hospital means people don’t have to travel to Whitchurch or Machynlleth or Llandrindod Wells to see friends and family.

“It means patients are close to friends and family and now with a really committed workforce so it’s really good news all round.

“The main thing now is to see the mobilisation plan with an opening date and, with our health colleagues, we’ll keep developing further services for in-patients and out-patients for Bishop’s Castle,” she added.