County hospitals at ‘breaking point’

First published in News

COUNTY hospitals are at breaking point as staff treat record numbers of emergency patients with pressure set to grow over winter.

Emergency demand is 14.5 per cent higher than this time last year across Worcestershire acute hospitals, including Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital, but plans are in place to deal with even higher numbers over winter.

For the first five months of this financial year (April-August 2012/13) the trust treated 20,648 emergency patients compared with 18,198 in the same period for 2011/12, meaning staff have had to cope with an extra 2,450 patients so far.

If pressure continues to rise, bosses even plan to re-open Highfield ward at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester, which was due to close at the end of last week.

The challenge was discussed at a recent meeting of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust when chief operating officer Stewart Messer said he was “not confident” demand would come down.

He said: “The last two weeks in September have been particularly challenging. We would be surprised if the peak for September is not far off the July peak.”

After the meeting, he said: “If demand goes up to 20 per cent next month we will get to a point where things start to become untenable.”

For every emergency patient the trust treats over an agreed threshold, the county’s hospitals have to pay back 70 per cent of the tariff to their NHS paymasters.

So far they have paid out a £2.3 million rebate, which is projected to reach £5.5 million at the end of 2012/13.

The trust also risks being fined £22,000 a month every time staff fail to see, treat or discharge at least 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

Health bosses have worked out at least 20 extra beds would be needed to cope with the increased demand between January and March next year although, at peak times, as many as 45 beds could be needed.

At Worcestershire Royal Hospital 22 beds could be used at Highfield ward to cope with the extra patients, costing the trust between £800,000 and £900,000 to staff.

The trust plan to use their own nurses to staff the ward.

Bosses say they are also prepared to open extra beds at the Alex Hospital.

Up to 20 beds may also have to be used across the county’s five community hospitals including Bromsgrove.

In a worst case scenario, commissioners have agreed to purchase between 10 and 20 additional beds in nursing homes to cope.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:09pm Mon 1 Oct 12

honestscott says...

New hospital meets new town’s needs
The development of Redditch as a new town in the early 1980’s was the catalyst for the building of a new hospital to replace Bromsgrove District Hospital and reopen Smallwood Hospital as a day hospital.
The building was commissioned by Bromsgrove and Redditch Health Authority and cost £27m to build on land donated by the late
Mr Jeremy Quinney. Construction started in November 1982 and
the hospital was handed over in April 1986 with the first patients admitted in October 2011 – 25 years ago!
Many of the current Estates team were involved in overseeing construction and commissioning of the hospital. The main contractors were Taylor Woodrow and the architects were Hospital Design Partnership.
The project offices were wooden huts where the helicopter pad is now and the residences, which had been completed ahead of the building of the hospital, were used as classrooms for training on layout, procedures and all aspects
of electrical and mechanical training.
The same team have been part of the developments and upgrading of facilities over the past 25 years.
Royal Opening
Mrs Dawn Price was the Chairman of the Bromsgrove and Redditch Health Authority at the time and was hostess to Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra when she visited on Thursday 2 April 1987 to perform the official opening ceremony.
Over 30 staff were formally presented to the Princess on her conducted tour through outpatients, radiology, A&E, wards 18 and 19, post graduate medical centre, maternity/ward 14, nurse education centre and finally Kingfisher ward to meet children and parents.
^ Princess Alexandra meeting patients and staff at the opening.
However, the Princess chatted informally to many other staff on her tour. She also met with volunteers including the League of Friends. It was a memorable day for all present!
Facts and figures
Over the past 25 years there has been a considerable increase in the numbers of people attending the Alexandra either coming into A&E, attending as outpatients or as inpatients requiring surgery or treatment.
Major changes to countywide services
Following a far reaching review of health services in Worcestershire, the Alexandra Hospital was merged with Kidderminster Hospital and Worcester Royal infirmary in April 2000 to form Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Later that year, the Alex became a centre of excellence within the county for Orthopaedics and Urology.
The patient pathway
Some patients are admitted as emergencies via A&E and need critical care or might spend time in the Medical Assessment unit where they might be admitted for treatment or discharged home.
However, most follow a pathway which starts with a visit to
their GP, who will write to the appropriate Consultant for an appointment to be arranged. When the patient visits the clinic the Consultant will decide on the next step which might be diagnostics such as an xray or scan or require laboratory/pathology tests to ascertain the next step.
This might be referral on to another consultant, treatment such as physiotherapy or surgery or other medical treatments.
Patients will then be discharged back home or into appropriate care. The patient’s pathway is now
completed within 18 weeks from GP referral, through treatment to discharge, which is a significant improvement on treatment times in the past.
1986/1987 (anticipated)
April 2010/March 2011
A & E attendances
25,000
54,013
Inpatients
15,000
27,433
Outpatients
65,
122,663
New hospital meets new town’s needs The development of Redditch as a new town in the early 1980’s was the catalyst for the building of a new hospital to replace Bromsgrove District Hospital and reopen Smallwood Hospital as a day hospital. The building was commissioned by Bromsgrove and Redditch Health Authority and cost £27m to build on land donated by the late Mr Jeremy Quinney. Construction started in November 1982 and the hospital was handed over in April 1986 with the first patients admitted in October 2011 – 25 years ago! Many of the current Estates team were involved in overseeing construction and commissioning of the hospital. The main contractors were Taylor Woodrow and the architects were Hospital Design Partnership. The project offices were wooden huts where the helicopter pad is now and the residences, which had been completed ahead of the building of the hospital, were used as classrooms for training on layout, procedures and all aspects of electrical and mechanical training. The same team have been part of the developments and upgrading of facilities over the past 25 years. Royal Opening Mrs Dawn Price was the Chairman of the Bromsgrove and Redditch Health Authority at the time and was hostess to Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra when she visited on Thursday 2 April 1987 to perform the official opening ceremony. Over 30 staff were formally presented to the Princess on her conducted tour through outpatients, radiology, A&E, wards 18 and 19, post graduate medical centre, maternity/ward 14, nurse education centre and finally Kingfisher ward to meet children and parents. ^ Princess Alexandra meeting patients and staff at the opening. However, the Princess chatted informally to many other staff on her tour. She also met with volunteers including the League of Friends. It was a memorable day for all present! Facts and figures Over the past 25 years there has been a considerable increase in the numbers of people attending the Alexandra either coming into A&E, attending as outpatients or as inpatients requiring surgery or treatment. Major changes to countywide services Following a far reaching review of health services in Worcestershire, the Alexandra Hospital was merged with Kidderminster Hospital and Worcester Royal infirmary in April 2000 to form Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Later that year, the Alex became a centre of excellence within the county for Orthopaedics and Urology. The patient pathway Some patients are admitted as emergencies via A&E and need critical care or might spend time in the Medical Assessment unit where they might be admitted for treatment or discharged home. However, most follow a pathway which starts with a visit to their GP, who will write to the appropriate Consultant for an appointment to be arranged. When the patient visits the clinic the Consultant will decide on the next step which might be diagnostics such as an xray or scan or require laboratory/pathology tests to ascertain the next step. This might be referral on to another consultant, treatment such as physiotherapy or surgery or other medical treatments. Patients will then be discharged back home or into appropriate care. The patient’s pathway is now completed within 18 weeks from GP referral, through treatment to discharge, which is a significant improvement on treatment times in the past. 1986/1987 (anticipated) April 2010/March 2011 A & E attendances 25,000 54,013 Inpatients 15,000 27,433 Outpatients 65, 122,663 honestscott
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree