ACUTE CARE: A three month consultation has been launched into the future of community hospital beds in North Staffordshire after wards were closed in 2014 amid concerns over staffing levels.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust closed two wards at Longton Cottage Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent last year with the support of commissioners in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Hospital beds

The public will be consulted on community hospital beds in North Staffordshire

Both wards reopened in February for six months because of bed pressures and were funded temporarily by the local clinical commissioning groups using non-recurrent funds.

The CCGs now say they cannot continue funding the cost of keeping the wards open using temporary staff and believe services in the community could better support patients.

Longton Cottage Hospital includes an outpatient clinic for physiotherapy, X-ray, podiatry, phlebotomy, audiology, rheumatology, respiratory and diabetes services, which will continue.

Marcus Warnes, interim accountable officer at North Staffordshire CCG, said: “This consultation will give local people a chance to tell us what they think of our plans and specifically how they relate to the future of Longton Cottage Hospital, and potential future uses of that site.”

He added: “Keeping Longton Cottage Hospital open over the last six months has cost in excess of £90,000 a week.”