PLANS to use a hospital more are finally under way – two years after a taskforce to improve facilities was created.
The Fareham Community Hospital taskforce, managed by Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, met recently to discuss the site’s future.
The hospital does not provide enough beds and it is a scandal that it is so under-utilised.Councillor Sean Woodward
And with a pilot project launched to see more of the hospital used, suggestions have been made that by making more beds available it could help with bed-blocking problems at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
As reported in The News on Saturday, the NHS is spending £1.8m a month on patients medically fit to be discharged being in beds at QA.
Calls have been made by Portsmouth councillors for more community beds to be made available in the area and leaders in Fareham have pointed to the community hospital as a key location.
They say it is significantly cheaper to care for people in the community than in hospital and it can help the recovery of frail and elderly patients.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said: ‘The hospital does not provide enough beds and it is a scandal that it is so under-utilised.’
The Fareham Community Hospital taskforce, since it was started in 2015, has been trying to see the hospital used more.
It was recently revealed that only 40 per cent of it was being used, costing Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) around £427,000 a year.
In January the CCG, the body that decides which services operate at the hospital, approved plans for a pilot project to path the way for increased use. The hospital has also been mentioned as a location for a potential primary care hub in Fareham.
Cllr Woodward added: ‘The hospital can provide more than enough space for more beds, a maternity unit and a minor injury unit, which are all facilities that are badly needed in this area.
‘It should be a high priority and I urge the CCG to get on with it.’
Following a recent meeting of the taskforce, Miss Fernandes said: ‘This is a very exciting time for the community hospital.
‘The pilot scheme is a big step forward in ensuring greater use of the hospital and there is fresh management ready to takeover.
‘We have been pushing for greater use of it for two years, and we are now seeing real progress in making this a reality.
‘Working alongside the CCG, we have secured a change in the lease arrangements so it is easier for new services to be established at the hospital.’