Early signs of success for unit treating frail patients at QA Hospital

A UNIT to help treat frail patients is seeing early signs of success.

Monday, 6th November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:24 pm
Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth

Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, has set up the dedicated centre as it prepares for winter pressures.

The space for the extra beds for frail patients has been created after Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust made the decision to reduce the number of non-urgent operations it would do.

For up to six months, elective orthopaedic surgery will be slowed down.

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Speaking at a trust board meeting, chief executive Mark Cubbon said: ‘We took the decision three weeks ago given the pressures we have been dealing with and these pressures are very real.

‘How they manifest themselves will cause delays when we have ambulances attending A&E and waiting to get patients into the trust because we are exceptionally full and need additional beds.

‘That is what we are seeing at our peak demand and why we took the decision on the elective operations.

‘To strengthen our resources we have decided to create a frailty unit to have better outcomes for the older, frail patients and a reduction in the length of stay.’

Mr Cubbon said some hospitals had spare wards but QA did not not so has to make extra space.

But he said that since opening the frailty unit there have been positive outcomes.

‘The centre is up and running and we are seeing some encouraging signs of frail patients having a shorter hospital stay and being discharged home.’

But during the meeting, it was reported that QA has seen an increase in the number of medically-fit-for-discharge patients remaining on wards. For the past few months it had an average of around 250 patients but it has risen to 290.

Mr Cubbon said: ‘Some of the benefits of the frail unit are being swallowed up by the additional 40 beds of patients who are medically-fit-for-discharge.’

And the additional numbers are a top concern for the chief executive.

He added: ‘Despite everyone’s best efforts, the number has gone up. The challenges come to bear with the acute trust but the system is working together to help.’