Anger at urology ward closure
STAFF at a hospital ward set to close have said patient care will be compromised if the cuts go ahead. A petition has been set up to save the 28-bed urology ward at Lister Hospital after East and North Hertfordshire Trust bosses announced plans to close
STAFF at a hospital ward set to close have said patient care will be compromised if the cuts go ahead.
A petition has been set up to save the 28-bed urology ward at Lister Hospital after East and North Hertfordshire Trust bosses announced plans to close the unit.
The Trust, which runs Lister and the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, is having to cut jobs, close wards and use other controversial measures in order to save £19m this year.
The Trust says the closure of the urology ward has been made possible through reducing the average length of stay through initiatives such as the planned '23-hour surgery ward' where patients are not kept in overnight - which it says will be suitable for many urology patients.
The remaining patients will be accommodated in the hospital's main inpatient surgical wards.
A nurse who works on the ward told The Comet: "We were told that the urology department would close in October without anyone discussing it with us first.
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"Everyone is really upset and people don't know what is going on.
"We have come up with a number of alternative suggestions and have put them to the management. We want the public to understand what is going on and we are asking the public and patients to sign our petition.
"Having worked for many years to set up a specialist urological unit where all the expertise needed for dealing with routine and complex urology but also prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancer management in one place, it is a huge upheaval.
"Patient care will be threatened with disruption, dispersal and compromising the standard of care they receive."
She said the urology department consists of five consultants, two research nurses, four specialist nurses and 30 ward nurses.
She said: "The chief executive had stated to our newest consultant when he joined the trust three months ago that the Trust was very proud of the urology department and ward 7A, and that it was a flagship for the Trust, delivering expert and outstanding care so why are they threatening to close it?
"This is not written in stone. We are looking for public support to help save our urology department."
Last week we reported that the stroke unit would also close although this will relocate to the QEII. Six beds will also be lost at the QEII.
The Trust's director of operations, Julie Lowe, said: "The changes in bed numbers and their use addresses many of the long-standing clinical issues that have existed for some time.
"It will only be possible to make these changes if we gain the understanding, co-operation and involvement of our staff.
"While beds will be lost, this is possible through a combination of more innovative clinical practice - for example the new 23-hour surgery ward at the Lister - and creating important new services - such as the new surgical assessment and full stroke units at the QEII.