Closed St Luke’s ward re-opens

St Luke's hospital in Market Harborough. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001014-5). ENGNNL00120130116163322
St Luke's hospital in Market Harborough. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001014-5). ENGNNL00120130116163322

A ward at St Luke’s hospital in Market Harborough has re-opened, after being closed for three months due to staff shortages.

The 14-bed Ward 3 was closed temporarily in February this year, due to insufficient permanent qualified nurses.

But a number of successful nurse recruitment events have since been held at St Luke’s and around the county.

And this week, a statement from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust announced: “We are now confident that we are able to resume the delivery of high quality care on Ward 3.”

The ward provides sub-acute medical care, general rehabilitation and palliative care to older patients.

The re-opening of the ward has been welcomed by hospital campaigner and local councillor Phil Knowles.

“St Luke’s gives wonderful service to the community and the closure of the ward due to staff shortages quite rightly resulted in considerable criticism of the NHS” he said.

“We need assurances that mechanisms have been put in place to identify any potential staff shortages in the future, and to ensure staff appointments can be made to avoid any future closure.”

The NHS Trust spokesman said there was a national shortage of qualified nurses.

He said: “We are working closely with our recruitment team, and continue to have a rolling recruitment programme with a number of vacancies across the Trust advertised on the NHS jobs website.”

As well as county recruitment days, the team has also attended nursing conferences and will attend future recruitment events, the spokesman added.

Janet McNally, the matron in charge of St Luke’s, said: “We are very pleased to be able to re-open Ward 3.

“We would like to thank all the staff on the site for their continued hard work and commitment during the ward closure.

“We have also been able to use the temporary closure to upgrade the nurse-call system and increase the number of electrical points in the ward. These will further enhance our patient and staff experience.”

For details of current NHS vacancies, see the Trust’s page at www.jobs.nhs.uk .