Community wards to close at St Albans City Hospital

Community hospital wards are closing at St Albans City.

Community hospital wards are closing at St Albans City. - Credit: Archant

Two wards at St Albans City Hospital are being closed as part of a major cost-cutting exercise aimed at reducing the number of community hospital beds.

Shutting Sopwell and Langton wards, which offer 39 beds between them in the hospital’s Runcie Wing, will result in a £2.8m saving for budget-strapped Herts Community Trust.

A new contract with Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisation that plans and pays for most NHS services, cut the funding support provided for HCT community hospital beds, which were already under pressure due to the increased needs of patients using them.

HCT chief executive David Law explained: “The reduction in our contract means we are currently using money from budgets for other services to keep Sopwell and Langton wards open, and this cannot continue for much longer.”

The trust is proposing to open 10 additional beds in Langley House, Watford, supporting more patients in their own homes instead of in hospital, and recruiting more healthcare assistants to bolster its community nursing and therapy teams.

Mr Law added: “This is a difficult time for the NHS, the people who need our services and our staff. We know our funding is getting tighter compared to the need for services we are seeing.

“I want to assure everyone that we will make the savings in a way that is effective and safe for all of our residents.This will also support the aim of the whole of the local NHS to provide more care in the community and in patients’ own homes.”