— Updated at 5.18pm with Royal College of Nursing statement
A ward at Lincoln County Hospital will be permanently closed down as part of changes to the way the hospital works.
Clayton Ward, which provides elderly care, was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a report earlier this year.
CQC inspectors saw good practice and generally received positive feedback from patients, but found not all needs were being consistently met in Clayton Ward.
Areas of concern included the care and welfare of people, supporting the staff, and assessing and monitoring the quality of service.
At the time, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) accepted the criticism, stating that it would work to improve the ward.
However, Deputy Director of Nursing and Patient Services Tracy Pilcher says that due to improvements in healthcare at the hospital, less beds are needed for patients, and a temporary ward is needed while other wards are refurbished.
No staff currently working on the Clayton Ward will be made redundant by the closure.
She said: “ULHT is transforming its services, part of which includes a plan for the coming year to move from working five days a week to seven days a week for services such as diagnostic tests, physiotherapy and pharmacy.
“This means patients will be able to receive care and treatment more quickly, rather than having to wait in hospital over a weekend for certain procedures.
“The success of this is that patients will be able to spend less time in hospital which reduces the number of beds the hospital needs to treat the same number of patients.”
She added: “In addition to this, there are a number of different areas that are going to be refurbished this year but to do this work the hospital needs a space that can be used for wards to move into, and Clayton has been chosen as the most appropriate ward.
“All staff working on the ward will be transferred to other wards and departments across the hospital and no staff will be made redundant.”
Fears for loss of service
— Later update: David Harding-Price, Secretary of the North Lincolnshire Branch of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said he is “concerned about the loss of the team with ten plus years experience and even more knowledge,” as “the closing of Clayton Ward will see a dilution of care to a vulnerable group of people.”
The branch is fearful that the loss of beds could lead to a reduction in the level of care offered.
Stephen Jobling, RCN Steward at the County Hospital explained: “To deliver safe nursing care to this group of patients demands both skill and time. The closure of Clayton Ward will see this concentration of skills being diluted around the hospital.”