Beds at two community hospital wards in Somerset have been cut for the winter from today due to a shortage of nurses.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust says plans will go ahead to temporarily move 24 beds from Shepton Mallet and Chard Community hospital wards to other locations.

The trust say they do not envisage the wards reopening until March.

We have regrettably concluded that the original decision taken by the Trust to consolidate beds across ten sites and therefore to temporarily close the beds at both Shepton Mallet and Chard should continue as planned. This closure is a temporary measure and that we will be working extremely hard to improve the staffing position across our community hospital service in order to reopen the beds as soon as possible.

Somerset Partnership Chairman Stephen Ladyman, and Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had announced plans to close a number of beds. Credit: ITV West Country
10

beds closing at Shepton Mallet Community Hospital

14

beds closing at Chard Community Hospital

We are very grateful to all those who gave their views in our drop in sessions in Chard and Shepton Mallet, and at the Shepton League of Friends meeting last month. We will be planning further engagement with the local community so that we can hear how this temporary change is affecting local people and to ensure that the decision-makers at the February 2018 Board meeting are fully appraised of the public's views.

Somerset Partnership Chairman Stephen Ladyman, and Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton

The Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust say the closure of 10 beds in Shepton Mallet Community Hospital and 14 in Chard, is due to a shortage in registered nurses in the county.

The announcement has been met with frustration from local residents, with an online petition protesting the plans gaining thousands of signatures.