Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert will close its pediatric unit on Friday as part of Banner Health's cost-cutting consolidations announced in January.
Banner's plan was to close the unit when capacity dropped and transfer any remaining patients to Banner Children's Hospital on Dobson Road north of the U.S. 60 in Mesa, said Susan Gordon, Banner Gateway spokeswoman. The 11-bed unit in Gilbert treats sick children.
"Wednesday morning, for example, we had five patients," Gordon said. "The Children's Hospital has ... many more beds, and much more programs and services than we have here in our unit, so it's actually a really good thing for our patients to be able to utilize the services of our Children's Hospital."
Banner Gateway is working to find other jobs for its pediatric unit personnel, Gordon said.
"We have a career transition program," she said. "Some may go to Banner Children's, some may stay here at Gateway and some may take jobs at our other hospitals. It just depends on what that person's role is and what their qualifications are."
Banner Children's Hospital has 137 patient beds, and will have 248 beds when the new patient tower opens in early November, said spokesman Jeff Holeman.
"This time of year is when pediatric capacity is higher and we've been full for quite some time now," he said. "It's beginning to taper off just a slight bit, but we still have the ability to absorb those patients. This (expansion) gives us more beds to serve this area's children. There is a shortage of pediatric beds in the Valley overall, and particularly in the East Valley, so this will give us the opportunity to address that need."
The 11 pediatric beds at Banner Gateway will be relicensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services to accommodate adult patients, Gordon said.