AN EXTRA 15 beds are to be opened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital this winter to relieve pressure on A&E.
The ‘step down’ beds will be available for people leaving a ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, who no longer need to be at QA, but who still need support to help them complete their recovery.
Funding for the initiative comes from the £8m investment being made into the NHS in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire this winter, from a pool of £700m nationally.
The extra beds in Gosport will be opened gradually during the month.
Dr David Chilvers is the lead for the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group, which is in charge of buying health services in the area.
He said: ‘These new beds will be a huge benefit to patients.
‘Having this extra capacity in Gosport will make it easier for the NHS to move patients out of QA when they are ready to leave, and in turn that will make it easier for QA staff to admit patients from across the area who need their care.
‘It’s in absolutely nobody’s interest for patients to be stuck in a bed at QA when they no longer need to be there, so we hope this additional capacity will have a positive impact.’
Outpatient services will be temporarily moved to other parts of the hospital site and the consultant geriatrician working there will move to work in A&E in QA to boost expertise in the assessment and the care of frail and elderly patients there during the winter.
Traditionally, winter is the busiest time of the year for A&E departments as people are prone to becoming unwell and more prone to slips and trips due to wet, icy weather.
As reported, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, is not seeing, treating, or discharging 95 per cent of patients in four hours or less.
Part of this is because there is a delay in discharging patients from wards, when they do not need to be there.
In a bid to tackle that, Hampshire County Council and Southern Health NHS Trust have put together the Enhanced Recovery at Home team.
It will support people to live independently after a stay in hospital, or to give people the care they need to avoid having to go into hospital in the first place.
The £900,000 scheme can provide a response within two hours for people who need help urgently.
MP raises casualty problems with health
MPs in south-east Hampshire met with NHS leaders to get an update.
Fareham MP Mark Hoban, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt and Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, met health officials at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth, community health providers Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Trust, Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council.
Speaking about the meeting in parliament, Mr Hoban said: ‘I commend the model they are using to work together to prevent unnecessary admissions, safe and speedy assessment of those in A&E and prompt discharge of those who can.’
Jeremy Hunt said: ‘I commend what’s happening in his constituency.
‘The heart of the long-term solution is to see them all working as one system.’
To read The News’ view on this click here.