Patients at Weardale Community Hospital will be temporarily moved to Bishop Auckland next month to allow for maintenance works to take place.

Work is set to be carried out at the Weardale hospital to replace the existing fire alarm system, and the work cannot be carried out while patients are receiving care in the hospital.

From February 6 patients will be temporarily transferred to ward six at Bishop Auckland Hospital to allow the works to take place. It is expected to take around four weeks.

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Weardale Community Hospital will then reopen following a thorough recleaning once work has been carried out.

Noel Scanlon, Executive Director of Nursing for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been informed by NHS Property Services that the current fire alarm system at Weardale Community Hospital needs to be replaced.

“This is an important safety feature and we are supportive of the need to undertake this work. Unfortunately due to the level of disruption likely, and to ensure that the works are carried out in the safest way possible, we need to temporary move patients out of the hospital while the work is taking place.

“We have plans in place to safely move patients from Weardale Community Hospital to Ward 6 at Bishop Auckland Hospital over the weekend of 4th and 5th of February. We will do this in a planned way using patient transport services and supported by our own colleagues to minimise distress and make sure our patients are as comfortable as possible during the move.

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“Our nursing and therapy teams will also be moving with the patients so there will be a consistency to their care and familiar faces to support them during the move.

“As soon as the works are completed, which we expect to take approximately four weeks, we will be supporting patients, and our own teams, to be transferred back to the ward at Weardale Community Hospital.”

Bishop Auckland Hospital is currently at the centre of a campaign, led by the towns MP Dehenna Davison, to restore A&E services.

A public meeting held by Ms Davison was due to take place on Friday (January 20) evening but was cancelled after officials from the local health trust unexpectedly “pulled out”.

Davison said: “It seemed like we might be able to make things work, until this week when they pulled out again a few days before we were due to meet. The timing is very unfortunate given how many people signed up to attend, and I completely sympathise with the disappointment that many of you will feel at not having the chance to have your views heard.”

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