Kettering General Hospital children's ward to temporarily close and become Covid ward

The children's ward has been stripped to allow a respiratory ward to be set up

By Alison Bagley
Saturday, 16th January 2021, 4:48 pm

Kettering General Hospital's Skylark Children's Ward is be be closed and refitted as an emergency Covid respiratory ward.

Staff were said to be in tears when they were told of the closure - said by management to be only temporary.

They were informed that young patients could be transferred to Northampton General Hospital for treatment from Monday evening - although a subsequent statement from the hospital says they are looking at several options for the re-siting of the ward.

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The 26-bed ward's open-access provision is thought to be used by 2,000 of the most medically needy children in the north of the county. It means some of the most poorly have full-time access to Skylark services and don’t have to go through A&E.

There are also kitchen facilities for parents and play areas for inpatients.

A statement issued to the Northants Telegraph from a spokesman for Kettering General Hospital said: "To help us respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, children’s inpatient services at Kettering General Hospital are being temporarily moved next week.

"We are considering many options including working with NGH, although at this point it is looking likely an internal ward move will be made.

Kettering General Hospital - file picture

“This will enable our larger children’s inpatient ward at KGH to be temporarily used as a much-needed additional medical ward to treat adult Covid-19 patients.

"This is a clinical decision to ensure we maintain safe levels of care to both children who need to stay in hospital overnight and adult Covid-19 patients across Northamptonshire.

"It is a temporary arrangement that will be kept under constant review and we will reopen the children’s inpatient ward at KGH as soon as possible."

The hospital has been under increasing pressure during the latest Covid wave, with nearly 180 Covid positive patients in the KGH.

Skylark Ward's colourful foyer

A critical incident was declared earlier this week as staff struggled to find enough capacity at the Rothwell Road site.

The spokesman added: "A&E services and children’s outpatient appointments are unaffected by this temporary move and will continue to take place where they do now."