Staff ‘disappointed’ and ‘confused’ over plans to shut rehab units at Wanstead Hospital
- Credit: Photo: Arnaud Stephenson
Nursing staff say they have been left in the dark over impending plans to close rehabilitation wards at Wanstead Hospital.
A report published this week by Healthwatch Redbridge states that some staff were left “confused” and “concerned” ahead of the controversial move to shut the Heronwood and Galleon intermediate care wards and centralise services at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes.
Representatives from the patient group visited sites at both hospitals in April and have published recommendations ahead of the changes, which are set to be pushed through in less than a month.
They say despite this, they still remain “unsure of the detail”.
Attempts to refer the matter to the Secretary of State were blocked by Redbridge Council in July after officers found “no evidence for us to make such a referral”.
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Under the plans, announced by Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last year, hospital beds will be reduced from 104 to 40, with the option to expand to 61 when needed. Community care teams will also be introduced, visiting patients in their own homes.
Healthwatch Redbridge’s Enter & View report stated: “Some nursing and care staff on the wards commented that they felt disappointed and confused at the lack of clarification regarding the impending relocation of services.”
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It added: “Representatives were concerned that no clear plans were available given the impending reconfiguration of services.”
However, it also points out that the report is not necessarily representative of the experiences of all patients and staff, only an account of what was “observed and contributed at the time”.
The group has recommended more staff involvement and clear information on “what constitutes an appropriate in-patient rehabilitation service” and has asked “for more information on the level of resources being used” to “ensure adequate and appropriate patient and carer engagement is assured”.
North East London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the wards, said it has communicated with staff about the changes and chief executive John Brouder visited the sites to answer questions and concerns about the changes.
A spokeswoman from Redbridge CCG said a lengthy public consultation found the majority of respondents agreed with the proposals and would prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.
“We look forward to working with Healthwatch to monitor and review these services in the future to ensure they continue to provide excellent care,” she added.