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Confusion as the future of Shipston hospital is no clearer

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Shipston’s Ellen Badger closed yesterday last Wednesday as questions still remain over its future as a hospital.

With construction work due to start with phase one of the redevelopment of the site – which includes the new medical centre and other facilities – the 15 current patients have been moved to Campion Ward at Leamington Spa Hospital.

Originally the move had been planned for later this month but was brought forward due to the Covid situation (see page 1).

Although the ward closure at Shipston means fewer beds available overall, a spokesperson for South Warwickshire Foundation Trust said: “In light of the Omicron threat, NHS England and Improvement declared we are at Level 4 National Incident.

“This means the response to Covid-19 is being co-ordinated at a national level and each organisation has been asked to put in place plans to support meeting increased demand. Campion Ward has increased capacity and therefore provides the potential to increase beds if needed.”

Meanwhile whether Shipston will get a new hospital with beds, which it has long been promised, is contingent on an ongoing bed review.

This part of the Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston is due for demolition. Photo: Mark Williamson. S103/10/21/0045
This part of the Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston is due for demolition. Photo: Mark Williamson. S103/10/21/0045

The SWFT spokesperson explained: “The purpose of the review is to establish the best model for delivering care to patients who have recently experienced an acute illness and require ongoing medical, nursing or therapy input, for a short period of time.

“We do not know the outcome of this review and we are currently at the very early stages of the process.”

Fundraisers and campaigners, the League of Friends of Shipston Hospitals, are frustrated that plans for the hospital are as elusive as ever.

Chair Bryan Stoten said he took part in a community panel on 16th December to discuss the future of both Stratford and Shipston hospitals and was shocked to hear that experts had already ruled out single-bed rooms.

The spokesperson explained that the technical panel, made up of clinicians, operational and governance leads, and others, met previously to assess the viability of proposals; and that only those that were felt to be viable were taken forward. Following this the community were involved to refine the proposals.

Mr Stoten said: “With still no planning permission agreed, no agreed plan for a hospital produced and no time-line for development agreed, we are at a loss.

“After over four years of management time, architects’ fees and senior management oversight we seem no further forward other than seeing a confused local community asking us ‘what is going on?’.”

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