STRUCTURE: The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases Foundation Trust is to cease providing inpatient neurological rehabilitation services from the end of March.

The board approved the decision to end the service at their December meeting due to dwindling patient numbers and a 50 per cent reduction in income over the past two years.

A report to the board said the “decision was based solely on a clear indication that the service is not financially viable now, or likely to be so in the future given commissioning intentions”.

It said changes to referral patterns over the last three years had seen patients needing less complex care being treated closer to home rather than at the trust, which is known locally as ‘The Min’ and is the smallest foundation trust. In total 59 staff have been informed their jobs are “at risk” as a result of the changes.

The £21m turnover trust has been in significant breach with Monitor since May last year and is widely expected to merge with neighbouring Royal United Hospital Bath Trust once it has achieved foundation status.

In a statement after the meeting medical director Ashok Bhalla said: “The commissioners at the South West Specialised Commissioning Team and NHS Bath & North East Somerset and Wiltshire will now work together to identify and consult upon options for how this service can be re-provided. The commissioners have informed us that placements are already commissioned from other providers in the local area and that the views of patients and carers will be taken into account as part of the consultation process.”