We provide a selection of news stories from local papers across the UK, to illustrate current events concerning community hospitals.

News from Local and National Press


Community Hospitals - The Last of a Dying Breed


An excellent and very well-informed article by Helen Beetham regarding Totnes community Hospital, which also talks about the impact of closures of community hospitals and services across Devon.  A must-read, and a cautionary tale for other areas following a similar strategy of reducing valued rural services.


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Two Community Hospitals to close over winter


Two of Somerset’s community hospital wards will remain closed until the spring - Chard and Dene Barton.  There are high levels of staff vacancies at others – particularly Minehead, Wincanton, West Mendip and Bridgwater.  The trust that runs community hospitals is struggling to find more nurses

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Clevedon Community Hospital Praised


Clevedon hospital had a PLACE inspection and was praised for cleanliness and its dementia-friendly environment.

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Rothbury Hospital, Northumberland


The community of Rothbury are still waiting for a response from the Secretary of State on the outcome of an initial assessment from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel on the case put forward by the Local Authority that due process was not followed by the NHS in closing the 12 bed ward in the hospital.

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Hundreds March to Protest Hospital Closure - Wantage Hospital, Oxfordshire


In Wantage, the community has been protesting about the plans to marched to protest about the plans to close their community hospital beds.

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Citizens Jury Help to Choose Location for New Community Hospital


A specially formed Citizens Jury made up of local people was asked to put forward one of a possible three locations for a new Community Hospital in the Forest of Dean to replace two community hospitals – Lydney and Dilke.  The jury voted Cinderford as the preferred location and this has been ratified.

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NHS community hospitals: meet the residents fighting to save ‘vital’ local lifelines


An important article which includes a summary of the position of community hospitals in STPs, and sets out their role in integrating services. The article contains interviews with residents of campaign groups for community hospitals including Wantage in Oxfordshire; two hospitals in the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire - Lydney and Dilke;  Portland hospital in Dorset and Babbington hospital in Derbyshire.  

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Health trust which runs Malvern Hospital rated as one of the best in the country


Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has been placed in ‘Segment 1’ by an independent organisation called NHS Improvement which supports trusts across the country to provide safe care to patients.   The health and care trust runs the county’s community hospitals, minor injury units, recovery wards, community/district nursing and therapy services as well as a range of mental health care.

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Skipton MP welcomes decision to keep Castleberg Hospital open


A DECISION to refurbish and reopen Castleberg Hospital in Giggleswick has been welcomed by Skipton MP Julian Smith. A meeting of the governing body of the Airdale, Wharfdale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Settle voted unanimously to keep the ten bed hospital open. The decision was taken to continue to provide inpatient care in the community and repair and restore Castleberg Hospital but in a redesigned way that will be determined with the involvement of the local community. Castleberg Hospital was closed a year ago.

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"Community hospitals are a vital part of the range of services we want to see in our NHS"

Theresa May, Prime Minister on 16th May 2018 (Hansard PMQ)


Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP asked the PM in Prime Minsters Question time: “Does the Prime Minister agree that the NHS should be investing in community hospitals?"

Theresa May responded that she agreed that "Community hospitals are a vital part of the range of services we want to see in our NHS".


The MP said: “The 12 in-bed provision at Rothbury Community Hospital in my constituency was removed without adequate consultation back in September 2016.

The Save Rothbury Hospital campaign and I have worked closely together to get transparency on that decision and return the in-bed provision for our vast and sparsely populated Coquet valley.”


The matter has been referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. 


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Campaign highlights importance of getting hospital patients out of bed earlier


That's the key message of a national challenge for the NHS in Cumbria as staff and families take part in a national challenge designed to show the benefits of getting patients to move. Community hospitals staff will also reaffirm their commitment to helping more patients to get dressed and moving by revisiting pledges from last year and continuing to raise awareness. This year, NHS England has set wards across the country a “70 day challenge” in order to get as many patients as possible up, dressed, and moving.  Read more



Holsworthy Community Beds to Reopen


Beds at the town’s hospital were temporarily closed back in March 2017, with Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) citing ‘significant’ safety concerns. However, healthcare commissioner Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) has now written to the NDHT to formally request a programme to reopen beds. In a statement, the CCG said it was ‘no longer able to support’ the closure.  Read more




Community Hospital Beds could reopen in June


Inpatient wards at Somerset’s community hospitals could begin re-opening as early as June, provided that more nurses can be recruited. The Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust operates 13 community hospitals across Somerset, providing more than 200 inpatient beds. Chard and Shepton Mallet’s hospitals saw their in-patient wards temporarily closed in October, along with one of the two wards at Dene Barton hospital in Cotford St Luke near Taunton. Now the trust has stated that it is “optimistic” that one of the sites could reopen soon as it strives to recruit more nurses from outside the European Union.   Andy Heron, the trust’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer said:“We very, very much value our community hospitals. They will be part of the landscape going forward.”  Read more



Ceremony to officially open £417,000 Unit at hospital


The inpatient unit at Clevedon’s North Somerset Community Hospital has been officially reopened after a £417,000 revamp. The building, made up of the Elton Rehabilitation Unit and Lister Ambulatory Unit, had been closed for almost two years. The number of beds has been reduced from 17 to 11, comprising three ambulatory care beds and eight rehabilitation beds. Read more



Campaigners say “stop” to community hospital hub roll-out


Local people are protesting about the planned roll out of community hubs in Buckinghamshire. Community beds have been closed in community hospitals to create the hubs. The Trust has said “Our aim in developing community hubs has been, through prevention and early intervention, to provide more care closer to home.”

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Close “lavish offices” instead of Thirsk hospital, says Peer


A MEMBER of the House of Lords says the NHS should have closed some of its “lavish offices” instead of Thirsk’s Lambert Hospital, as she calls on the head of NHS England to overrule the decision.  The Lambert Memorial Hospital closed in 2015, when South Tees NHS Hospital Trust announced the 14-bed facility would be temporarily shut with immediate effect, saying it was unable to find enough qualified nursing staff to operate the hospital safely.  In an unprecedented move, councillors from Sowerby Parish Council, Thirsk Town Council, Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council formed the Lambert Hospital Action Group.  The group, led by Hambleton council, wanted to purchase the building and use it as a health and community facility.  Read more



£90,000 grant for study on ageing Evesham Hospital


As part of the national One Public Estate programme, £90,000 has been secured for a feasibility study which will look at either enhancing the current Waterside site, or for a new hospital to be built nearby.  Sarah Dugan, chief executive at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said” The hospital is valued by the trust and the local community and while there may be changes to the types of services it provides in the future, this announcement is further evidence of our commitment to providing well-utilised local services Evesham.”  Read more



Southwold Hospital Acquired by Community Group


From left: Bill Hancock, Will Windell, LV (Chairman), Jessica de Grazia (Deputy Chair),

Gail Ferguson (Secretary), Martin Culwick (Treasurer) and Marianne Greening.


The President of the CHA, Dr Helen Tucker has said:


"Congratulations to a voluntary group in East Suffolk, who have bought back their local cottage hospital in Southwold to be used as a community hub, including space for start up businesses, a crèche, a community farm-to-fork café, a new, improved home for the local public library and some affordable housing.  They have formed a Community Benefit Society called SouthGen, and are working in partnership with local organisations concerned with the needs of a largely elderly population.
Communities across England will be looking with interest, to learn from Southgen, which is the first to create a new community resource at their old hospital.  The CHA knows of other communities who have taken the first step in registering their redundant hospital as a Community Asset, and are exploring ways of retaining their hospital sites to continue their role in contributing to community wellbeing. 
Aerial View of Southwold Hospital Site
Congratulations to those energetic and visionary individuals, Jessica de Grazia and Laurence Vulliamy, who have committed so much of their time to create such a valuable resource.  They have led the way for other communities to follow.” To read the media article please follow link.



Call to re-open 12-bed hospital unit in Wantage

17th Jan 2018

Campaigners fighting to save a community hospital are appealing for support to re-open it. The group feel “let down” by a lack of action from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.  Councillor Jenny Hannaby, chairman of the Wantage Hospitals League of Friends said: “It’s been well over a year since the hospital has been closed, and part two of the consultation that we were promised in October 2016 still hasn’t taken place.”  Read more 



60 years of help to Westbury Community Hospital

15th Jan 2018

The Westbury and District League of Friends, who raised more than £1.5m towards the town’s old community hospital and other charitable causes over its 60-year history has folded. Its former chairman Erica Watson said “I have been part of the league for more than 20 years and it has been a real honour to play a part and helping others, we can all be very proud,” said Mrs Watson, who worked in the NHS for 50 years. Read more



New Home First Initiative Relieves Pressure on Local Hospitals

14th January 2018


Home First, a new Somerset health and social care initiative, supports people to return home as soon as possible.   This is helping to manage demand on hospital beds. Although the number of people being admitted to local hospitals such as Burnham on sea has increased, the number of people facing delays in being discharged has reduced as a result of this initiative. Read more



Watch: North Devon health campaigners say care at home is not working

13th January 2018-01-22


A hard-hitting video by health campaigners says the Care Closer to Home service is not working in Devon. The video commissioned by save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) claims care quality is ‘dodgy’ for people being cared for at home instead of in hospital and says frontline staff do not have enough time to properly visit their patients. It follows the closure of beds at community hospitals across Devon, including in Torrington, Ilfracombe, Bideford and Holsworthy. Read more



Assurances sought ahead of community hospital bed closures

11th January 2018


A Cumbrian peer is calling for reassurances about the future of the three county community hospitals set to lose their beds. Lord Roger Liddle, who represents Wigton on Cumbria County Council, has written to health boss Stephen Eames asking for a guarantee in writing on funding, services and staffing. NHS bosses agreed last year to remove beds from Wigton, Maryport and Alston hospitals, instead caring for more people at home, following the controversial Success Regime consultation.They have since been working with each community to draw up a vision showing how care will be provided and hospital buildings used in other ways, such as extended clinics.

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Foresters say no to closure of Dilke and Lydney hospitals

8th Jan 2018

Campaigners are demanding the NHS drops plans to close two community hospitals and replace them with a new single £11 million facility after local people rejected the idea.  More than 3,000 people filled in a survey distributed across the Forest of Dean during a 12 week consultation into the plans put forward by health chiefs. Currently there are 47 beds between Lydney and the Dilke hospitals, while the minimum number of beds the new hospital would have is 24.  Many others question the location of a new hospital, expressing fears that it would be difficult to reach using public transport in a rural areas, and the facilities that would be offered. Read more



CHA Letter in the Guardian 


Proposals that could see the NHS renting rooms in private houses for patients recuperating after surgery are criticised by Dr Helen Tucker of the Community Hospitals Association and others, and the case is made for the vital importance of capacity for intermediate care in community hospitals.  Read more...



Future of Rothbury Ward goes to the Secretary of State


Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee has voted to refer the proposed closure of Rothbury ward.   Last month the joint executive board of the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) voted unanimously in favour of permanently closing the inpatient ward and shaping the existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre at the hospital.  The closure is on hold and the final decision rests with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Katie Scott, from the Save Rothbury Community Hospital campaign group said at the meeting "Surely at all stages the scrutiny committee should have been consulted? It seems to us that you have been ignored," she said. "I believe today is the first opportunity in over 14 months for the committee to fully examine the proposal to take away our beds."





Shaftesbury hospital beds saved in Dorset health service shake-up


Campaigners are jubilant after winning the battle to save beds at Shaftesbury hospital as part of a Dorset-wide review of health services.


The governing body of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group voted to maintain a community hub with beds at the town’s Westminster Memorial Hospital as part of a raft of proposals that will shape the future of health care provision in the county. But the hub is set to move from the hospital site as the CCG proposal also agreed it should stay until a new model for services is established. Julian Prichard, founder of the Shaftesbury campaign group Save our Beds! said after today's meeting in Dorchester that he was delighted with the decision.  Read more



The Friends of Braintree Hospital says public must have say on proposed Braintree Community Hospital Ward changes 


PROPOSED changes at Braintree Community Hospital should not take place before the public have had their say, a community group has said. The Friends of Braintree Community Hospital has promised to hold the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to account over the plans, the nature of which are currently not clear. Proposals are believed to be changes to the use of beds within the Courtauld Ward - a 24-bed facility providing rehabilitation and end-of-life care for elderly patients. Read more


MP tells NHS trust not to waste time on "bogus consultation" for Holsworthy Hospital


“Sadly I am not yet convinced that the NDHT or CCG are seriously engaging in what can be described as a plan to reopen the hospital.” said Mr Cox. “I will shortly be meeting the Minister for Hospitals, Phillip Dunne MP, to discuss with him the future of our community hospitals and local health services, and, in particular the reduction of bed capacity in the local NHS.” Read more



MP Layla Moran to bring community hospital cut concerns to health minister


THE FUTURE of Abingdon Community Hospital will be discussed at a meeting between Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran and Health Minister Steven Brine.

Ms Moran will be asking for a guarantee from the Government that patients will not face bed cuts or a reduction in services at the hospital as part of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's controversial 'transformation plans'. A legal challenge to the changes was last week granted a full hearing. Ms Moran has already raised concerns about possible cuts to beds and services at the Abingdon hospital in the House of Commons and described the Marcham Road facility as a 'treasured asset'.

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Potters Bar hospital fears as figures show five services cut in a year


Potters Bar Community Hospital is facing an uncertain future after it emerged that five of its services have been cut in just over a year – with more potentially at risk. Since August 2016, Royal Free has stopped its Potters Bar-based ENT (ear, nose and throat) services, dermatology, general surgery and orthopaedics. Urology was also scrapped in June 2015. Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden said: “Like many constituents I was concerned to learn about these changes to services at Potters Bar Community Hospital. “I have been in direct contact with the Royal Free to share these concerns and will soon be meeting personally with their chief executive, Sir David Sloman. “It is my understanding that the future of the hospital is fully secure, but I am seeking an urgent clarification from them and the local NHS clinical commissioning group, Herts Valley, about the reasons behind these decisions and the hospital.” Read more



Patients are being 'abandoned' despite plans to review minor injury unit closures


Withernsea Community Hospital in-patient unit was shut as a temporary measure last month. A month after its "temporary" closure Withernsea Community Hospital shows no sign of reopening to patients. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for a review of controversial plans to permanently close the hospital's minor injury unit and another in Hornsea, but neither City Healthcare Partnership nor East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have said when the hospital may reopen. Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has said while he welcomes the review, it does not "allay concerns" for Withernsea Community Hospital's immediate future.

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Two hospitals set to close to make way for new £11million facility


Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services which runs the county's community hospitals, said she is "excited" by the opportunity to develop new facilities in the area. We hope these new facilities will enable us to provide a wider range of services. Sometimes we're not able to provide that consistency across the two sites. Currently there are 47 beds between Lydney and the Dilke hospitals, while the minimum number of beds the new hospital would have is 24. Bed occupancy at both hospitals is often at 95 per cent, but the NHS says only half of patients at both hospitals are from the Forest of Dean. Health bosses believe 24 beds would be a "robust number to support the locality." The new publicly-funded hospital could provide an endoscopy suite, but will not include a birthing unit or operating centre.

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Wait for better healthcare in Maldon district continues


Since 2003 plans have been considered for replacing the “ageing” St Peter’s Hospital with a new community hospital for Maldon. Proposals have now been unveiled for “Maldon Health Hub.” The CCG said that it should no longer be referred to as a hospital as there was no guarantee the new facility would include beds.

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Past News 

News stories that have been posted on the CHARM website are available to download in a pdf document


News Items Sept 2017

News Items March 2017 

News Items Jan 17

News Items Sept 2016