City Community Hospital is to reopen next month after a successful recruitment campaign for registered nurses.

The 12-bedded ward at the Fulbrook Centre in Headington, Oxford, was temporarily closed at the end of May on the grounds of patient safety due to staff shortages.

It will reopen in stages from mid-November with plans to open a further four beds in early January.

These additional beds will coincide with the anticipated increase in system pressure and demand and will give additional capacity across the health and social care system at a time of greatest need.

City Community Hospital’s temporary closure came about after it had become clear that two thirds of registered nursing posts would become vacant leaving the ward reliant on agency staff to cover every shift – impacting on the quality and consistency of care to patients.

Oxford Health pledged to review the situation and implemented a renewed recruitment campaign.

City Community Hospital staff were re-deployed across the other hospital sites but maintained a sense of team spirit and connection to their home unit with regular updates relating to progress on recruitment and plans for reopening.

During the temporary closure, Oxford Health reviewed its recruitment process to its community hospitals including the nursing establishment on all wards and then re-advertised all vacancies.

There has been particular success in recruiting to vacant posts at City Community Hospital.

However, recruitment for registered nurses in Oxfordshire still remains an issue across all providers, a similar picture as the rest of the country.

Having considered the workforce challenges Oxford Health is confident it will be in a position to re-open City Community Hospital from mid-November 2019.

Senior leads in Oxford Health’s Community Service directorate would like to thank all community hospital staff through this difficult period. Their commitment and concern for our patients and local community cannot be underestimated and it is with their support Oxford Health has been able to re-open City as planned.