‘Heartache’ over decision to close cottage hospital

Brackley Cottage Hospital
Brackley Cottage Hospital

Brackley’s Cottage Hospital is to close its doors for good after 138 years of operation.

The hospital’s trust made the decision to close the Pebble Lane facility at a special meeting last Thursday.

The hospital, which has four residents, will close at the end of March. It has been part of the NHS since 1948.

Difficulty in recruiting nurses due to a national shortage has been blamed and trust chairman, George Britchfield, said the decision was taken with ‘great regret’.

“The trustees are very aware that to several residents the cottage hospital is their home and this decision will mean a great wrench for them and their families, and it can only be repeated this has caused much heartache to all involved in the decision-making,” he said.

“However, the final straw has been the shortage of qualified staff in the market place and the one thing on which the trustees will not and cannot compromise is patient care.”

He added the trust supported a proposed 60-place care home, which includes the relocation of the cottage hospital’s 12 beds, planned for the Network 401 development on Northampton Road.

“Reprovisioning of the facilities available from the ‘cottage’ has been on various NHS agenda over the years, none of them coming to fruition, partly because the various bodies have changed with Brackley moving from area to area,” he said. “In the past couple of years, the possibility of a new facility on the Northampton Road to include the step-down NHS beds, that are provided by the ‘cottage’ and paid for from local GPs’ budgets, and the care home beds presently incorporated within the Pebble Lane building, has come closer than it ever has before.”

Mr Britchfield added the trust was grateful for the hospital’s hardworking staff and its ‘indefatigable’ manager.

He thanked the residents of Brackley for their support and added: “Just as the end of the tunnel seemed at last to be in sight, it is galling to have to take this irrevocable step.”