A significant step in the expansion of Leicestershire’s network of community hospitals has taken place.

Last month an additional five beds opened at Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital. It follows the full opening of an 18-bed ward at Loughborough Hospital at the end of October.

The expansion in bed capacity comes after the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board pledged £9m for this year and next year to increase the number of community hospital beds by 52 across the eight community hospitals.

Extra capacity is being opened as sufficient staff are recruited by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), which runs the hospitals. It is planning to take on an additional 227 staff which includes nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and support staff to provide care to the additional patients.

Nikki Beacher, LPT’s deputy director for community health services, said: “This is great news for patients across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“The extra capacity we have will be used particularly for patients who have completed their treatment in acute hospitals, but who require additional care to get them home or to a care home. It will also be used to prevent some patients from ever having to enter an acute hospital.

“We will offer patients nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy care to help them continue their recovery.

“At the same time, we will free capacity within acute hospitals, allowing them to care for more patients who are very, very poorly.”

Loughborough Hospital had only one inpatient ward for many years. A second one was opened temporarily to cope with the pandemic, and this ward is now being used on an ongoing basis.

The capacity at Hinckley’s East ward has gone up from 23 to 28 beds. The capacity of Hinckley’s North ward remains at 18 beds.

LPT is still recruiting staff for its community hospitals across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. To see the latest vacancies, visit: https://www.leicspart.nhs.uk/jobs/what-we-offer/community-hospital-recruitment-2023/