STRUCTURE: A plan to reduce the number of beds at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust stalled when it was forced to re-open a ward.

The trust recorded increased lengths of stay and higher rates of emergency admissions in April and May compared with the same month a year earlier.

According to the director of operations’ report for May, the trust’s Dugdale ward was closed on April 9, a week later than planned, but had to reopen for two weeks in late April and early May.

The report said: “This was mainly due to the double four-day weekends at the end of April”, which led to lower discharge rates and stays being extended by up to two days.

The trust’s chief executive’s report said the executive team had reviewed the situation and has agreed “we would not be confident to agree a ward closure during the year”, and but would aim to have the capacity reduction in place by the end of 2011-12.

Bed reductions were not included in the trust’s cost improvement plan.

The trust’s bed reduction plan is split into two phases. In the first, a reduction in non-elective occupancy should lead to 20 to 30 beds being closed.

In phase two, which is yet to be planned in detail, a further 20 would be closed through “immediate transformation opportunities” linked to the trust’s acquisition of local community services.