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Shotley Bridge Community Hospital

Press release - issued on behalf of NHS Property Services, North Durham CCG and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Property Services have identified significant maintenance issues at the Hospital with the water and drainage infrastructure.  As a result, contingency planning has been on-going at the site and this has identified an increasing risk to the patients receiving treatment in the hospital's inpatient ward. As the service provider, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is concerned about the level of risk for these patients and how any risks are mitigated.

A joint decision has therefore been made that from Saturday 01 October there will be no new admissions to the ward.  During the course of the month, we will work very closely with the patients currently receiving care on the ward and their families to relocate them to alternative community hospitals and care homes.  This will allow NHS Property Services to have unrestricted access to the area to fully assess the extent of the issue and for all partners involved to consider the possible options available.

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services, said: "Shotley Bridge Hospital services are currently provided from a 1960's building. As landlord, NHS Property Services takes our obligation to ensure the building is maintained safely and meets all building regulations very seriously. A risk assessment review was recently undertaken where we reviewed several safety issues associated with the current aging infrastructure of the building; in particular, serious issues with the main water supply.

"NHS Property Services has chosen to approach NHS partners; NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT), to agree the best approach to resolving these issues and to alert them to the increasing likelihood of infrastructure failure at the site. We consider it essential that all parties are aware of the increasing level of risk and can make their own necessary plans for business continuity and service delivery.

"All health partners are working together on options and contingency plans for managing the situation. The longer term suitability and future provision of the Hospital is a matter for commissioners and NHS Property Services will continue to provide expert estates support and advice to all our NHS partners."

Mike Brierley, Director of Operations and Delivery NHS North Durham CCG said, "As Commissioners of services provided at Shotley Bridge Community Hospital, we are working closely with our NHS partners to ensure that the care provided to patients continues to be of the highest standards.

"We are working with our colleagues on options and contingency plans for the short term and developing long term options for the future of healthcare provided from Shotley Bridge Community Hospital."

Sue Jacques, Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "This is not a decision which has been taken lightly. As the provider of services in the hospital, we have a duty to ensure we can provide safe services for our patients and to the highest standards.  We also have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for staff. Following the identification of the problem by NHS Property Services, we have been carrying out contingency planning with our services and have identified that there is an increasing risk to the patients receiving treatment in the hospital's inpatient ward. There are currently 16 patients on the ward and we are working very closely with the patients on the ward and their families to make arrangements to relocate their care based on an assessment of their needs. We are also working very closely with our staff to support them in discussions about relocation."

Published: 29 September 2016

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital