A campaigner against the closure of Bassetlaw Hospital’s children’s ward is worried the ward could be earmarked for permanent closure.
In January 2017, it was announced the A3 paediatric ward at the Worksop hospital, which is run by by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust which also runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary, would have to close overnight, seven days a week.
Now, 16 months later, the ward remains closed from 7pm until 8am the following morning.
It means poorly children are sent to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, 20 miles away.
It takes 35 minutes to drive between the two hospitals, or on public transport the trip takes around an hour and 20 minutes.
An average of 11 children per week have been sent to hospital in Doncaster since the closure, where there is a 24-hour paediatric ward.
Trust bosses say the ongoing overnight closures are due to difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff.
A report into the issue, which has been published by Nottinghamshire County Council, states that with the current staffing levels, it would be unsafe to keep the ward open 24 hours a day.
The report found that: “It is not clinically safe to re-open the children’s ward at night without the necessary qualified paediatric staff, and following recruitment drives the position remains unimproved.”
Ellen King, who launched a Facebook campaign against the children’s ward closure, said the findings of the Hospital Services Review has come as no surprise to her.
She said: “As our campaign predicted months ago, it is clear that critical services will either be lost or consolidated across the region.
“The scant detail in the report means that it is unclear at present how Bassetlaw will be affected.
“The report recommends that a small number of inpatient paediatric units should be closed.
“As Bassetlaw’s children’s ward is already closed at night, with no sign of reopening, there is concern that it could be earmarked as one of the wards for permanent closure.
“Further recommendations make it unclear whether maternity services and Accident and Emergency at Bassetlaw will remain in their current form, or whether they will also be subject to cuts.
“The public deserves transparency about the future of our hospital and I call on the management of the Hospital Trust to urgently clarify what the review means for the future of our hospital.”
The trust which runs the hospital is currently rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the health watchdog CQC.