"Unprecedented" emergency admissions forces extra beds at Bournemouth Hospital

UNPRECEDENTED numbers of emergency admissions forced Royal Bournemouth Hospital to put on extra beds and cancel operations this winter.

The hospital opened 40 extra beds, compared with 28 in a typical year, to deal with an influx of patients chiefly suffering from respiratory illnesses and cardiac problems.

And Chief operating officer Helen Lingham has arranged a meeting to address the significant risk that there will be more cancellations of surgical appointments and "a lack of timely care" for emergency admissions if solutions are not found.

The hospital has had to cancel up to 15 operations a week at times this winter - prompting a director at a recent board meeting to say the hospital is facing " its worst crisis in a decade".

Chief executive Tony Spotswood has denied that is the case and blames the problem on a rise in emergency admissions.

He says the hospital is unable to quickly discharge patients for community-based care, which causes a bed blockage. But he denied that bed closures over the past two years had contributed to the problem.

“Over the last six months we have seen higher numbers of emergency patients than the hospital has ever seen before,” he said.

“I think this is because the elderly population is growing, more frail elderly people are living at home, rather than in care, and patients are finding it more difficult to access GPs.

“The problem is compounded by difficulties we have discharging patients who are medically fit, but who may require complex care or placement in a residential care home.”

“One of the reasons we can't is due to restrictions placed on nursing in residential care homes, so patients with some conditions won't be admitted.

“Also some need complex packages of community care, and there just isn't enough support available.

“The PCT and community trust are working to expand these resources.”

The hospital currently has 605 inpatient beds available, down from 638 in January last year and 643 in January 2011.

Mr Spotswood said they were cut as there was a year-on-year reduction in the length of time patients were spending in hospital, due to general improvements in care and organisation.

He added that the reduction in beds had not resulted in any redundancies among clinical staff, and denied that closing them was a mistake, saying it would be wrong to increase capacity for patients who don't require hospital treatment.

Mr Spotswood said: “The key issue is we have patients looked after by GPs here who would be better cared for in community beds.

“There is a physical limit to the amount of beds a hospital can have, and there are very good clinical reasons why patients should spend as little time here as possible.”

He emphasised that the changes are in response to current pressures and have nothing to do with the Poole Hospital merger plans, and do not involve closing any beds.

Chief operating officer Helen Lingham said the hospital was making “hourly and daily decisions” on transferring resources between wards.

She said one “exceptional measure” was converting the maternity ward to provide space for patients with women's health issues.

Mr Spotswood said: “We have two completely separate areas adjacent to each other, one clinical area for women who have had surgery for gynaecological conditions or treatment for breast cancer, the other supports patients receiving pre-natal or post-natal care.”

Councillor Blair Crawford, cabinet member for adult social care at Bournemouth council, said: “Our teams work with the hospital and I think it works well, but at times like now when everyone is under pressure it is more difficult.

“It takes time for a patient to be properly assessed, and we don’t want a situation where patients are rushed out of the hospital and given a quick care package to free up beds.
 

“They may just end up back in there as emergency cases.”
Cllr Crawford said the council was working to speed up the transfer of patients into care where it could."

Comments (5)

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12:29pm Fri 25 Jan 13

ajj-dorset says...

Wouldn't it be great if there were some empty wards on another site that could provide extra capacity for the trust?

It would be even better if such a site could be found close to the elderly population concentrated in Christchurch?
Wouldn't it be great if there were some empty wards on another site that could provide extra capacity for the trust? It would be even better if such a site could be found close to the elderly population concentrated in Christchurch? ajj-dorset

12:39pm Fri 25 Jan 13

BmthNewshound says...

“I think this is because the elderly population is growing, more frail elderly people are living at home, rather than in care, and patients are finding it more difficult to access GPs.”
.
Although the increase in the number of elderly is a national problem the issue has been exasperated in this area by local Councils allowing the building of hundreds of retirement flats by Churchill and McCarthy & Stone. When permission has been given to these schemes no consideration has been given as to whether local health services can cope with the influx of elderly people.
.
There should be an embargo on planning permission being granted for the development of further retirement flats until the issue of health and social care is resolved.
“I think this is because the elderly population is growing, more frail elderly people are living at home, rather than in care, and patients are finding it more difficult to access GPs.” . Although the increase in the number of elderly is a national problem the issue has been exasperated in this area by local Councils allowing the building of hundreds of retirement flats by Churchill and McCarthy & Stone. When permission has been given to these schemes no consideration has been given as to whether local health services can cope with the influx of elderly people. . There should be an embargo on planning permission being granted for the development of further retirement flats until the issue of health and social care is resolved. BmthNewshound

12:45pm Fri 25 Jan 13

borednow says...

Sorry Tony, but you're talking absolute BS.

I work at RBH, and the pressure there at the moment is unbelievable. We have huge numbers of extra patients, like we do every winter. That's why we normally set up 'Winter Pressure' wards in good time to cope with this influx.

This year, after shutting numerous wards at both RBH and Christchurch hospitals, we have been left chasing our tails to try and cope with demand. The patients on surgical wards 8 (surgical admissions), 9 (orthopaedics) and 18 (women's health) have been shunted around from one wards to another and it's becoming hard to keep up. Now we have women's health patients lodging in maternity, ward 9 was recently converted to what I can only describe as a nursing home for bed blockers and multiple orthopaedic surgerys were postponed.

The pressure on the front line staff is becoming more and more acute, and there is only so much we can take. It's fine for the management with their high salaries and plush offices to say we are fine and the pressure is nothing to do with ward closures, but how about popping down the wards and seeing things from our side. Believe me, it's not so pretty.
Sorry Tony, but you're talking absolute BS. I work at RBH, and the pressure there at the moment is unbelievable. We have huge numbers of extra patients, like we do every winter. That's why we normally set up 'Winter Pressure' wards in good time to cope with this influx. This year, after shutting numerous wards at both RBH and Christchurch hospitals, we have been left chasing our tails to try and cope with demand. The patients on surgical wards 8 (surgical admissions), 9 (orthopaedics) and 18 (women's health) have been shunted around from one wards to another and it's becoming hard to keep up. Now we have women's health patients lodging in maternity, ward 9 was recently converted to what I can only describe as a nursing home for bed blockers and multiple orthopaedic surgerys were postponed. The pressure on the front line staff is becoming more and more acute, and there is only so much we can take. It's fine for the management with their high salaries and plush offices to say we are fine and the pressure is nothing to do with ward closures, but how about popping down the wards and seeing things from our side. Believe me, it's not so pretty. borednow

1:19pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Upkeep says...

Its the old trick, run things down to the point that there at breaking point. Tell
the populace that the only way these utilities can be run effectively and efficiently is by them being privately owned.
Sell them off, subsidise them for a few years with more money than they were getting before and behold we have a health system very much like the one we had before except a few rich people have made themselves even richer off the backs of the tax and NI payer.
I personally dont think its right.
Its the old trick, run things down to the point that there at breaking point. Tell the populace that the only way these utilities can be run effectively and efficiently is by them being privately owned. Sell them off, subsidise them for a few years with more money than they were getting before and behold we have a health system very much like the one we had before except a few rich people have made themselves even richer off the backs of the tax and NI payer. I personally dont think its right. Upkeep

4:31pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Carl Baron says...

This whole situation has been exacerbated by greedy ‘Tory Councils’ selling off Convalescent Homes and in Christchurch the selling off of the Care Home opposite Christchurch Hospital. It seems that all these Councillors are concerned with is selling off land to developers, regardless of the effect on our local communities.

Court Royal Convalescent Home for Welsh miners, which Margaret Thatcher wanted to pull down (but failed) when building the BIC taking the last breath of fresh air from the miners lungs. @ http://tinyurl.com/a
ocnak8

Signed Carl Barron Chairman of AGPCUK
This whole situation has been exacerbated by greedy ‘Tory Councils’ selling off Convalescent Homes and in Christchurch the selling off of the Care Home opposite Christchurch Hospital. It seems that all these Councillors are concerned with is selling off land to developers, regardless of the effect on our local communities. Court Royal Convalescent Home for Welsh miners, which Margaret Thatcher wanted to pull down (but failed) when building the BIC taking the last breath of fresh air from the miners lungs. @ http://tinyurl.com/a ocnak8 Signed Carl Barron Chairman of AGPCUK Carl Baron

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