A WIRRAL hospital will close its doors to inpatients over the Christmas holiday.
Clatterbridge Hospital will stop routine operations for around two weeks from Christmas Eve to around January 2.
Managers insisted the move was not being made to help them cope with the usual surge of activity affecting all NHS organisations in the colder months, but because historically patients prefer not to have operations over the holiday period unless absolutely urgent.
But they did admit that they have already opened up two contingency wards providing 51 extra beds at Clatterbridge’s sister hospital Arrowe Park to deal with demand over the busy period.
Only people coming to Clatterbridge for planned operations will be affected by the decision to stop routine surgery.
Urgent operations and day cases will go ahead as usual at the site.
The Royal College of Nursing said the move to close Clatterbridge to inpatients and having to open contingency wards at Arrowe Park early highlighted there was “no give” in the system, with managers already having to “juggle” resources to meet patient demand.
RCN regional officer Colm Byrne said: “This highlights there is no give in the system due to £20bn worth of cuts to NHS services.”
Tina Long, director of nursing, said: “This time of year always presents challenges for a large acute hospital such as ours, but a great deal of work has been done to anticipate and meet these challenges and we are confident patients will continue to receive the high standard of care they expect.