A hospital ward is still shut after four months because of staffing problems.
Derwent Ward at Walton Hospital closed in November – forcing about 20 elderly patients to move.
Bosses at the Chesterfield hospital insist the closure is only temporary – but were this week unable to confirm when the ward will reopen.
The patients, who require palliative and rehabilitative care, were relocated to newly-refurbished wards at Bolsover Hospital and Whitworth Hospital – both up to ten miles away from Walton Hospital.
William Jones, director of operations for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “Arrangements at Derwent Ward have suffered from high staff vacancy and absence rates, with care reliant upon agency workers on a daily basis.
“Despite concerted recruitment efforts we have not been able to bring in a permanent staffing solution which meets Royal College of Nursing guidelines.” He added the ward was “outdated” for patients. Walton Hospital’s other two wards, which provide care for elderly mentally ill patients, are unaffected.
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