WIRRAL’S main hospital is to shut its private ward by the end of the year, it was revealed last night.
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge hospitals, has told staff the ward will be closed.
However, the hospital has said it will continue to treat private patients who will be kept in side rooms in wards in the main hospital.
The trust has blamed reduced demand for the private facility – and says many private patients have said they would prefer to be in the main part of the hospital.
However, a former patient, who is opposing the plans to shut the ward, said he was outraged that the trust had not consulted on the plans.
The patient, who asked not to be named, said: “Park Suite has been a real asset for the people of Wirral for many years, and should not be closed down without any discussion.”
Len Richards, chief executive of the trust, said: “Following a review of the services that we provide for private patients, I can confirm that, from January, 2010, these will be transferred from our Park Suite facility into the main Hospital building at Arrowe Park.
“All clinical, nursing and support staff previously based in the Park Suite will be redeployed within the trust.
“Our private patients will continue to receive the highest quality of care and treatment in refurbished side rooms within the main hospital.
“This decision has been made in the light of reduced demand for the Park Suite, which has coincided with the significant investments we have made in refurbishing wards in the main hospital, where many private patients have indicated that they now preferred to be treated, and improved waiting times.”
In the next three years, the trust is due to invest around £30m in its facilities at Arrowe Park hospital.
It also recently secured £900,000 from NHS North West to upgrade all its ward facilities during the next 12 months, and work has already been completed on many of these wards, including ward 14, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30 and 36.
Mr Richards said: “These improvements will mean eliminating mixed sex accommodation in most areas by creating dedicated male and female bays and toilet, bath and shower facilities, upgrading bathroom facilities and making them easier to use.”