One staff member has been made redundant as a result of hospital changes in North Walsham and Aylsham.

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The opening of a new 24-bed unit in North Walsham on May 8 will herald the closure of St Michael’s Hospital in Aylsham.

Belinda Williamson, modern matron of the two hospitals with Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C), said 29 members of staff would be running the new North Walsham ward.

Of these, 16 were based at the old North Walsham hospital before its replacement was built. In addition, 13 members of staff from St Michael’s would be transferring.

The remaining staff, who had not applied for, or been appointed to, posts in the new hospital, had taken up roles at alternative NCH&C sites including Benjamin Court, Cromer; Pineheath, Kelling; and Caroline House, Norwich.

“Only one post is being made redundant as a result of this closure and that has been necessary because, despite working very closely with this individual staff member over a number of months, the alternative positions we offered were not accepted,” said Ms Williamson.

She denied that staff at St Michael’s had been told to take annual or sick leave as the number of inpatients was reduced ahead of the transfer to North Walsham.

Ms Williamson said new patients were being admitted to alternative units, such as those at Kelling or Cromer, to minimise disruption for patients.

She added: “With fewer patients on the ward, the number of nursing staff has fallen slightly. But we have temporarily redirected these staff to other community hospitals in the area. For example, if there is a nurse off sick in Cromer, we may be able to send a nurse from Alysham.”

The new North Walsham hospital is part of a £3.7m redevelopment of the Yarmouth Road site which includes outpatient services housed in the former Rebecca House.

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