Town’s cottage hospital to close

The 12-bed hospital is folding
The 12-bed hospital is folding

Brackley Cottage Hospital is to close, it has been announced.

The hospital’s trust decided the close the facility at a special meeting on January 15.

The decision comes after years of campaigning to keep it open and several attempts to build a new one.

Trust chairman, George Britchfield, said the decision was made with ‘great regret’.

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

“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 was committed to and supportive of a proposed new 60-bed care home at the Network 401 development on the edge of town, which would include the relocation of the cottage hospital’s 12 beds.

In 1990, the hospital was first under threat of closure, but a public campaign led to a trust being established and the hospital being run as a charity organisation.

There have been several plans by various NHS trusts over the years to build new facilities, none of which have come to fruition.

Mr Britchfield added: “The trustees wish to record their sincere thanks also to the generous residents of Brackley and the surrounding area whose initial and ongoing financial support has enabled this charitable trust to continue for so long even when the light at the end of the tunnel was getting further and further away. Just as the end of the tunnel seemed at last to be in sight it is galling to have to take this irrevocable step.”