A GROUP with close links to Chard Hospital claims it’s not all doom and gloom.

The hospital has faced challenges with staffing in recent years, meaning the inpatient ward has been closed for more than a year and a half.

But the League of Friends for the hospital says, despite the problems, there is a lot of positive work taking place.

Nora Arnold, chairman of the League of Friends of Chard Hospital, said: “We have just had a committee meeting where we had a report on the hospital.

“Our hospital is a very busy place, where they have a well-used and well-equipped Rehab Room.

“They have a very busy physio centre, the out-patients department is in use all the time, with more and more consultants using Chard.

“The staff are first class, do far more than is expected of them, and always so welcoming.

“The receptionists make you feel very special, and are so helpful.

“The X-ray unit is used practically all the time, and the Minor Injuries Unit is open long hours, and whenever I have been I have had to queue.

“The hospital is so needed and does a wonderful service in Chard.”

Ms Arnold says matron, Nichola Murphy, is keen to see the inpatients ward reopen, and keeps the rooms checked regularly.

Ms Murphy shares her time with Crewkerne’s hospital, but other community hospitals in the area work together as a cluster.

Ms Arnold added: “Where equipment has gone to another hospital it is noted that in six weeks it has to be returned.

“Ms Murphy told us that quite regularly different clinics take place at the hospital, and it is difficult to find room for a car then.

"We are lucky to have free parking.”

The Friends group also regularly donates to the hospital.

Recently the group has given bike wedges to the physio department, and also donated a Christmas tree.

She added: "We are having a mural painted on the MIU wall and ceiling so younger patients can have something to look at to distract their attention.

"Our biggest donation this year was £10,000 to Hope for Tomorrow, the cancer unit that visits Chard regularly on a Tuesday. We funded it for a year.

"We have just had a cream tea, and our next event is at Crowshute House on September 20 - a music and supper evening."