HEALTH watchdogs want to know whether a community hospital could ease the burden of medically-fit-for-discharge patients at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
During a Portsmouth health overview and scrutiny panel (Hosp) meeting held yesterday, it was discussed whether Fareham Community Hospital could be used for patients waiting for social care packages or other post-hospital care.
We have a problem at QA and we have a solution at Fareham Community Hospital.Councillor Mike Ford
It comes as around 250 patients are in QA Hospital, in Cosham, considered medically-fit-for-discharge.
The figure has decreased over the past few weeks but, at its highest, was at 301 four weeks ago.
Speaking at the meeting at Portsmouth Civic Offices, Fareham councillor and panel member Mike Ford said: ‘Fareham Community Hospital has been definitely under-used since it opened.
‘It doesn’t seem to know where it fits into the area’s health care.
‘We have a problem at QA and we have a solution at Fareham Community Hospital. It seems more could be done.’
Peter Mellor, director of corporate affairs and business development at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust which runs QA Hospital, said in response that using the community hospital was an option that could be considered.
But he said the whole system has to be careful about opening more hospital beds.
‘There is a concept called discharge to assess which is when patients are waiting to be assessed before they can be discharged,’ Mr Mellor said.
‘That does not need to be done in an acute hospital. They could be discharged to the community hospital and be assessed there.
‘Fareham could definitely be a long-term solution but it isn’t going to happen in the short term.’
But he added: ‘We do have to be careful about opening up more beds. It is about providing the right care in the right place for the patients.
‘For a lot of patients, that best care is in their home.’
As previously reported in The News, Fareham Community Hospital now houses the Fareham same-day access service. Patients from four practices across the borough can get same-day appointments at the hospital.
Fareham Borough Council leader Councillor Sean Woodward and Fareham MP Suella Fernandes have both been campaigning to see more services at the hospital.