City Community Hospital has reopened with the admission of its first patients following a successful nurse recruitment campaign.

Ward sister Lucy Barrett welcomed the first three patients to the unit at the Fulbrook Centre, Headingon, today – Monday November 11 – now that staffing levels have been boosted.

Patients have been relocated from other Oxford Health-run community hospitals, as their needs are better suited to the city location. They are expected to be joined by more patients each day this week until the ward reaches its 12-bed capacity.

It is hoped a further four beds will open in January to help meet an anticipated demand in capacity during the busy winter period.

The search is now on to recruit three more Band 5 nurses to join the City Comm crew which prides itself on its breadth of skills, patient care and undiminished team spirit.

Some of the 40-plus staff who are working on the ward –  including nurses, health care assistants, nurse associate trainees, admin teams, therapists and housekeeping staff – came together on Friday for a re-orientation day and celebration.

Although City Comm was shut for five months, many of the team who were redeployed to the trust’s other community hospitals stayed in touch throughout keeping the strong team spirit alive.

At the re-orientation day attendees met the new Ward Sister Lucy Barrett who will take on the day-to-day management of the ward.

Lucy, who has joined the trust from the Churchill Hospital, will be supported by Deputy Ward Sisters Angela Jacob and Sindhu Nediyanickal and Clinical Development Nurse Steve McCorley.

She is looking forward to the challenges her job will bring and delighted the ward is operational. She explained: “When I first visited City Comm, even before I applied for the job, it looked amazing to me and felt like home. It gave me a great feeling.

“Now it’s all set up and operational I’m so excited. Our staff are amazing. Some may have doubted the ward would re-open. So, to see them back here is really touching; it’s like a family reunion.

“We will be offering the highest level of care, commitment and compassion to all our patients.”

Steve McCorley, Clinical Development Nurse, said City Comm was inspirational and had re-ignited his passion for nursing. He is looking forward to working with the team and ensuring that everything carried out is person-centred – all about the patient, not just their condition.

Also taking part in the re-orientation day was Senior Matron of all OHFT’s community hospitals Helen Lambourne who said “We’ve worked so hard over the summer to make this happen. We have amazing staff who have gone out and done their bit. We have also done our bit as a senior team and made sure we have got the right leadership in place to take City Comm forward into a new era. We are all absolutely committed to the patients, to working together.”

Commenting on the reopening, Oxford Health Clinical Director Pete McGrane said: “The Trust would like to thank staff and patients for their flexibility and commitment during the temporary closure.

“We are delighted that we have been able to attract additional staff to the unit and welcome them to the City Community hospital team.

“The reopening underlines our commitment made to staff and the wider health and social care system earlier this year and occurs in time for the anticipated increased demand upon services through winter.”

If you would like to work with Ward Sister Lucy Barrett and the multi-disciplinary City Comm team visit our careers website http://bit.ly/NurseWithUs