Confusion surrounding two south Warwickshire hospital bed reviews has prompted calls for an NHS chief to explain what is going on

The Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston and Stratford's Nicol Unit are community hospitals with a number of inpatient beds although the Shipston facility was closed by the South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust in January.

Confusion surrounding two separate hospital bed reviews has prompted calls for an NHS chief to face questions and explain exactly what is going on.

Cllr Penny-Anne O'Donnell, from Stratford District Council, made the plea the morning after attending a public meeting organised by the League of Friends of Shipston’s Ellen Badger Hospital.

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The Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston. Photo by Google Streetview

She told Warwickshire County Council’s adult social care and health overview and scrutiny meeting on Wednesday (September 21) that Glen Burley, chief executive of the South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust [SWFT], should be questioned at the next committee meeting.

She added: “The public feeling is so strong within the area and he is the chief person involved in this and who has the most up to date information.

"The NHS were invited to the public meeting but they just said they wouldn’t be turning up with no explanation. The way it is going, it is taking compassion out of care and I think that’s a mistake.”

The call was supported by the county council’s portfolio holder for adult social care and health Cllr Margaret Bell (Con, Hartshill and Mancetter) who admitted she was unaware of what was going on regarding beds.

She told the meeting: “I hadn’t caught up on the fact that a general bed review was happening and that the Ellen Badger - and presumably the Nicol Unit - were caught up in this unknown bed review.

"We need some clarity about what’s happening and what the relationship is between the two.

“I am concerned because there was something put out by South Warwick Hospital about their future plans which mentioned that Ellen Badger would have no beds, as if the decision had already been taken and I was not aware we were at that stage.”

The Ellen Badger in Shipston and Stratford's Nicol Unit are community hospitals with a number of inpatient beds, although the Shipston facility was closed by the South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust in January.

Cllr O’Donnell added: “The fact that we are confused around the different bed reviews because it is highly complex is concerning because things could be slipping under the radar.

"These community hospitals do fantastic work and are similar to the cottage hospital model and in our rural communities we need them but there is no national strategy to protect them.”

Becky Hale, the county council’s assistant director for people strategy and commissioning, tried to explain the various reviews taking place.

She said: “The bed review is to see if we have enough capacity within the residential and nursing market to support hospital discharge through the winter.

"It is part of our ongoing activity about looking at what’s coming and whether we are equipped and with enough capacity. It is completely separate from the community hospitals bed review.”

Earlier this year