A new ward with 22 beds has been opened on the first floor of Alton Community Hospital.

Known as Inwood Ward, it increases the number of beds at Alton to 40. There were already 18 on Anstey Ward.

Inwood Ward will provide more rehabilitation and recovery care for inpatients and improve care for patients nearing the end of their lives.

Eugene Jones, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “The new beds will enable us to provide rehabilitation and recovery to patients transferring from the local acute hospital within a purpose-built, community-based environment.

“This will enable Hampshire Hospitals to focus resources on those patients in greatest need and requiring urgent and acute care. We will also be able to support our primary care colleagues by offering extra support for those patients in the community that need temporary inpatient rehabilitation.”

A second ward means the number of side rooms can be increased to eight, allowing more isolation or privacy for patients as required.

Craig Rees, head of operations for mid and north Hampshire, said: “The ward was created from what was previously office space and so the construction of Inwood Ward has been completed with minimum disruption to the rest of the hospital and all patient services were able to remain open during the build phase.

“We ensured our patient and carer groups were involved in the clinical plans for the ward, as well as the layout and design. A number of patients have even been involved in the recruitment of staff to the new ward.”

Ward manager Paula Southgate said: “We are so pleased to open this new ward, which will be an important new resource for local people needing either rehabilitation or end of life care.

“I’m proud of the fact that we have responded to an increased local need with 22 more beds on Inwood Ward and the team are looking forward to providing the very best care possible in our shiny new surroundings.”

Dr Charlotte Hutchings, clinical director for north and mid Hampshire at the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Alton Community Hospital is a strategically important site for the local NHS, and hugely valued by people living in and around Alton, so we have been working together to ensure we make the best possible use of the space there.”