Alston inpatient unit reopened

Following the successful nursing recruitment at Alston Community Hospital, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, CPFT, has confirmed that the inpatient unit has reopened. 

A shortage of registered nurses to cover shifts meant that in early August the Trust took the decision to temporarily consolidate the patients and staff from Alston inpatient unit into Brampton hospital to ensure safe, high quality care and to maintain safe staffing levels.

Clare Parker, Interim Director of Nursing & Quality said:

“The plans that were implemented in August provided a temporary solution to immediate staffing challenges. We made a commitment to reopen Alston’s inpatient unit as soon as we were able to provide safe staffing levels and we are pleased to say that we can now do that following successful recruitment.” 

The nurse led treatment centre at Alston was operating on reduced hours to allow the service to remain open. This will now return to a 24 hour service. 

There is still a high number of nursing vacancies across the community hospitals and CPFT continue to appeal to the community to help spread the word about these posts. Clare added:

“Staffing levels across all our community hospitals remain fragile, although the situation is currently stable. The quality and safety of services for patients remains our priority and we will continue to do all we can to recruit to vacant posts to stabilise this situation. We appeal to the public to help us share the information about our vacancies and encourage registered nurses to come and work in our community hospitals.”

While CPFT continue to actively recruit, contingency measures will remain in place in Keswick community Hospital. Keswick Minor Injury Unit (MIU) will continue with reduced opening hours of 8.30 – 19.00 7 days a week (from 08.00 - 20.00) in order that the nursing staff can maintain its 12 beds and continue to operate the MIU. 

Joanna Forster Adams, Director of Operations, said:

“The hard work and dedication of staff has allowed the Trust to avoid implementing further contingency plans on other fragile inpatient units. Once again I would like to thank staff for going above and beyond their roles to ensure safe, quality care for patients. We take the wellbeing of our staff very seriously and continue to offer support during this challenging time.”