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'We cannot see a way to remain open': 280 jobs at risk as health trust announces closure

PUBLISHED: 12:17 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:18 20 March 2019

All Hallows Hospital at Ditchingham,near Bungay. All Hallows Healthcare Trust has announced its likely closure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

All Hallows Hospital at Ditchingham,near Bungay. All Hallows Healthcare Trust has announced its likely closure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Up to 280 people are set to lose their jobs after a health care trust announced its likely closure.

All Hallows Healthcare Trust, which has bases in Ditchingham and Lowestoft and gives care to more than 250 people a day, revealed today (Wednesday, March 20) that financial difficulties have made it impossible to continue.

The trust has been providing care since 1872 and operates a 30 bed hospital, a 50 bed nursing home, a domiciliary care service and a day care service.

The hospital offers specialist neuro-rehabilitation, re-ablement and end of life care and is also the home for a number of residents with severe and enduring conditions needing a high level of nursing care.

A trust spokesman said: “It is with enormous sadness that All Hallows’ board of trustees has to announce that All Hallows Healthcare Trust and all of its services are likely to close, subject to staff consultation.

“They have been forced to accept that it is now impossible to balance income and costs on an ongoing basis.

“All Hallows has a proud history of serving the local community over the last 147 years but despite impressive development and improvements over the last 18 months - achieving GOOD CQC ratings in all departments and developing new services - we cannot see a way to remain open as reserves are running out.”

Andy Evans, chief executive at All Hallows, said there will now be a 45 day process of consultation between the trust and its workforce before a final decision is made.

He said: “It is with sadness that we make our announcement today.

“The care and future of those who we care for is of paramount importance and we are engaging in detailed planning with their commissioners of care to identify and arrange alternative care and ensure any disruption to them is kept to a minimum.

“Along with the board of trustees I would like to express our thanks to staff.”

An estimated 250 people from across the region receive care from one of the trust’s services each day.

The spokesman added: “The care and future of our patients/residents/clients remain of paramount importance to us and so we are engaged in detailed planning with their commissioners of care to identify and arrange alternative care for them and to minimise disruption to them.

“We will continue to communicate directly with them and their families over the coming weeks so that we can satisfy all of their needs.

“The board of trustees would like to record their enormous thanks to their caring, loyal and hardworking staff and for all of those who have given so much support and so many kind donations to All Hallows over its long history.”

All health and social care services would be transferred to another provider, should the closure go ahead.

Health and care commissioners, including Suffolk County Council (SCC), Norfolk County Council, Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG and the South Norfolk CCG, will work towards securing continuous care throughout the transfer period.

Sue Cook, executive director of peoples services at SCC, who speaks on behalf of all commissioners, said: “Together we have a statutory duty to ensure those people currently receiving care from All Hallows will continue to receive care and support.

“We recognise the value and importance of the care and support provided by All Hallows in the community.

“Working with All Hallows, we are actively exploring a range of options to minimise disruption to the care provided. This includes the transfer of care and support services to alternative providers who can deliver a good quality of care at a local level.

“We are also in close contact with the owners of All Hallows’ buildings in Bungay and Ditchingham to explore the potential of leasing these to another provider.

“The impact on staff at All Hallows will also be a key factor as we consider all options for service continuity.

“We will continue to keep people, and staff, updated with any developments. We recognise this is a worrying time for them.”

Have you been affected by the closure of the trust? Email reece.hanson@archant.co.uk

‘Devastating news’

The closure would be “devastating” for those who use the trust’s many services, according to the Friends of All Hallows Hospital.

Bungay Town Reeve Sylvia Knights, who serves as president of the group during her term in office, said: “This is a vital local facility and its closure would be devastating news for many people because it provides such vital services and acts as a halfway house for both major hospitals.

“The potential closure would have a severe impact in many areas.”

The group was formed to raise funds and provide donations to the trust for equipment, with the largest donation being used to build the Day Treatment and Therapy Centre.

The group hold several fundraising events throughout the year and have raised more than £1 million since being formed in 1976.

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