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Ward to stay shut for a further month
9:46am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
THE closure of Fairfield Hospital’s children’s observation and assessment unit has been extended by another month.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Bury hospital, announced last week that the unit would remain closed until at least the end of February.
But the decision has now been made to keep the unit closed until the end of March, when the situation will be reviewed.
The unit was shut to in-patients in mid-December when there was an increase in the number of sick children visiting other hospitals in the area.
Extra beds were opened at North Manchester General Hospital and Royal Oldham Hospital and several children’s nurses were transferred from Fairfield to cope with the demand.
The future of the unit was discussed by hospital bosses and representatives of Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at a weekly meeting being held yesterday.
Cathy Trinick, interim divisional director of women and children’s services, said: “We initially made the decision to keep it closed over Christmas, but the pressure hasn’t abated at all. This weekend, North Manchester used every bed.
“When we met last week, the decision was made to keep the closure until the end of March to get us through the winter.”
The extended closure has also raised questions about the long-term future of the unit, which opened in November, 2010.
Mrs Trinick said: “We have to consider really carefully with the CCG colleagues. It’s about providing the right service for children.
“Because it’s been closed for a couple of months now, we can understand the anxiety that brings. It may affect the long-term provision of that service, it may not.
“Patient safety is the most important thing.”
A paediatric doctor is based in Fairfield’s accident and emergency department to treat sick children between 9am and 11pm, when the unit would normally operate.
Children who go to Fairfield and need to be admitted for further care are being transferred to North Manchester or Oldham.