Campaigners win their fight to reopen Community Hospital in Shropshire

  • Health Correspondent Hannah Bechelet reports on a victorious day for campaigners

People in Bishop's Castle have been celebrating after their campaign to reopen the beds at their town's Community Hospital succeeded.

The Shropshire Community NHS Trust has agreed to reopen the 16 beds 'as soon as possible.'

They closed in October 2021 because of staffing problems. At that time there was a 70% vacancy rate for registered nurses which the Trust said was unsafe and unsustainable.

Residents of Bishop's Castle led a strong campaign to reopen the site, including a 'bed-push' last May, and in September the Trust agreed that they would reopen the beds if enough staff could be found.

The Trust and the local community worked together on a number of recruitment days and at Board meeting on Thursday 4 April, the Trust said that the recruitment campaign had been successful.

Campaigners travelled together on a bus to Ludlow for the Trust's Board meeting and there were cheers as the decision was made to reopen the beds, before telling ITV News that it showed 'power to the people.'

The campaigners celebrated with champagne and a newly customised banner outside the Trust Board meeting

The Trust will now work on a plan to get the building, which has been empty for the past two years, ready to reopen, and promises that will be done 'as soon as possible.'

They praised the collaborative work between themselves and the local community, and said that it could become a model for the future, especially in rural communities.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Patricia Davies, told ITV News Central, "We've been using the community not just about the beds and how we recruit to the beds, but also the retention of staff in that area and looking at wider services that we can provide to that site.

"So with community diabetes services and that kind of thing - it means that people don't have to travel to big shiny hospitals in Shrewsbury or wherever.

"So it's not just about the beds, it's what it represents in terms of wider services and they're completely on board with that."

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