NURSES at Hinchingbrooke Hospital have been reassured that their jobs are safe despite their ward being closed. Staff at Pear Tree Ward, an acute medical ward, were told last week that it was to close. However, the hospital said there will be no redundancies and affected staff will be fully involved in the next steps. Liz Pointing, director of nursing, midwifery and operations, explained that the closure was as a result of the hospitals success at reducing the length of time patients needed to spend in hospital. She said: Following improvements in our reducing length of stay project, which has reduced unnecessary time that patients would have spent in hospital, over the past year the trust has had a number of unoccupied beds across the medical and surgical wards. As a result we are now in a position to reduce our bed capacity, which means that we can concentrate our staff across less wards, fill vacancies that we are carrying on other wards and reduce our reliance on bank and agency staff. This will improve standards of care for all patients and improve efficiency enabling us to do more with less. There will be no staff redundancies and affected staff will be fully involved in the next steps. Pear Tree had a sub-speciality in diabetes and endocrine, which is related to glands. Mrs Pointing said: Our medical team and specialist diabetes nurses already visit patients with diabetes in all our inpatient wards and therefore the closure will mean they can focus their attention on fewer service areas.