HOSPITAL chiefs have reassured patients' families about a new rehabilitation ward after concerns were raised over staffing levels.

Medics insist the standards of care given by staff in the new facility at Pendle Community Hospital is adequate for the number of patients based there.

The unit, dealing with stroke and general rehabilitation cases, was transferred to Pendle from wards C1 and C3 at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in August.

But the husband of a stroke patient has said his family were concerned about the number of staff on the unit on the Marsden Ward in Pendle at the weekend.

The husband, who declined to be named, said: "I cannot criticise the staff who were there because they were doing everything they could. It's just the administration - it's disgraceful and needs addressing.

"They have opened a brand new hospital at Blackburn and now they are transporting patients to wards that are not adequately staffed."

His concerns over staffing were echoed by Coun Tony Humphrys, vice-chairman of Blackburn with Darwen council's health scrutiny committee.

Coun Humphrys said: "I am very concerned about this because we have had a lot of redundancies at the hospital trust, to save £15.6million this year, and now we are getting reports that wards are understaffed.

"Is this all about the health of the nation or saving money?"

But Kathy Bonney, matron for rehabilitation services, said there were no problems with the staffing levels.

She said: "During the weekend concerned the number of staff on Marsden Ward was satisfactory for the number of rehabilitation patients on the ward.

"On the Saturday mentioned there were six members of staff on during the day, four in the evening and three at night, which is normal for a rehabilitation ward of this size.

"If an incident did occur the members of staff are highly skilled to deal with any situation.

"We shall look further into the gentleman's comment regarding staff levels and assure him of the care and attention given to all patients."