Bid to keep open vital temporary ward at Walsall Manor Hospital

Patients would be “at risk” if a temporary ward at Walsall Manor Hospital was removed from the site, health bosses have warned.

The temporary Ward 29 at Walsall Manor Hospital. PIC: BDP
The temporary Ward 29 at Walsall Manor Hospital. PIC: BDP

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has submitted a proposal to Walsall Council planners to change the current short term status of Ward 29 and make it a permanent part of the hospital.

In 2014, permission was granted for the 29-bed ward to be created for a total of eight years – which is now coming to an end – and after which the structure would be taken down.

But the hospital said “high pressure demands” caused by Covid meant the ward was still needed and removing it would pose a risk to patient care.

Planning agents BDP said: “This full planning application seeks to make the existing modular decant ward building, Ward 29, into a permanent addition to the Walsall Manor Hospital A&E, changing it from its current 'temporary' status.

“This is due to the bed space within the ward, being necessary to meet the high pressure demands of Covid-19.

“Due to the impact of Covid-19, the trust is unable to remove the temporary accommodation without putting the care of patients at risk.

“This single-storey modular building is 1,514 square metres and holds 29 beds in total along with a plant room. There are also consultation and examination rooms accompanied by six single-bed wards and six, four-bed wards.”

They added: “Overall, as there is no external or internal changes being made to this already existing structure, there will be no negative impact on the local community and the environment.

“As the building is going to be a permanent addition to the hospital, it will create further stable employment in the area.

“As a result, there is limited environmental impact given the site is in close proximity to good public transport (900m from the Walsall railway station) and local residential amenity. There is also cycle provisions and electric vehicle charging points.

“Due to the pandemic, the trust’s circumstances are regularly changing to meet the clinical needs of Covid-19 and the patients of Walsall.

“At present, the trust could not support a business case to demolish the module ward block as the bed space is under pressure because of Covid-19.

“As a trust, we accept the buildings are far from ideal given the temporary nature they were provided in and have no aspirations to retain for any longer than required.”

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