A SPECIALIST brain trauma centre’s move from Portsmouth to Southampton will improve care and isn’t being led by the need to cut costs, say officials.
Solent NHS Trust bosses say the Kite Unit at St James’ Hospital is not up to scratch and neurological patients would receive better treatment at Western Community Hospital in Millbrook.
We have made the absolute best of the environment we have. But we have got to the stage where we can’t improve the quality experience for our patients.Solent Neurological Rehabilitation Services clinical manager, Sallyann Smith
The Portsmouth facility has 10 beds but its restricted design and lack of privacy means only two women can be cared for at a time.
Planning permission for a separate ‘pod’ on site to cater for extra patients has previously been turned down.
Portsmouth’s health, overview and scrutiny panel Hosp), this week didn’t raise major concerns over the move.
It comes in the same year emergency vascular surgery was moved from Portsmouth to Southampton. A long-running campaign to keep it was defeated.
Solent Neurological Rehabilitation Services clinical manager Sallyann Smith said: ‘We’ve made the absolute best of the environment we have. But we have got to the stage where we can’t improve the quality experience for our patients.
‘We’re not serving our female population very well because we can only have two females in our environment at one time so we can stick to the rules of the Mental Health Act.
‘So we have looked at alternative site provision.’
A Solent report into the proposal said the Southampton site offers ‘a better environment for the rehabilitation of service users’ and ‘has been used for older people with behavioural concerns and so is an ideal environment for the client group’.
The Southampton facility is based on a ‘race track model’ enabling male and female patients to be separated easily.
Hosp members questioned whether the move formed part of the NHS’ plan to reduce costs by more than £500m as part of its Sustainability and Transformation Plan – a strategy looking at healthcare across the county.
But Solent NHS Trust CEO Sarah Austin said: ‘This is about expanding and growing the service for the population of Hampshire.’
And Ms Smith added: ‘This isn’t financially driven.’