Today there was a meeting on the doomed ward, in which the staff were told that there simply weren't enough jobs around the rest of the hospital for them all. Transfers to other hospitals may happen. The older staff are being asked to consider early retirement. If it comes to the crunch, some people will be made redundant (they were bluntly told this).
While the meeting was going on, staff from other wards were asked to cover for the period, so I myself was there when the meeting ended and people filed out looking grim-faced. I was touched that many people still asked how I was, despite their own problems. Many of the staff around the hospital have heard of my recent health problems. It's been nice to hear their concern.
This closure is part of a complicated plan, which involves reopening that ward as a specialist ward in order to generate funds for the trust. It will probably be a Challenging Behaviour ward, where other trusts will send difficult personality disordered patients, and pay our trust accordingly. This will take time to set up, as retraining of staff will be involved, not to mention the money will have to be scraped together to fund the project. Not everyone will want to work on such a ward. I know I wouldn't.
In the meantime, there is the small problem of finding work for twenty-two staff in a hospital which has only six vacancies.