Beds cut plan in run-up to new hospital

An artist's impression of the proposed hospital

An artist's impression of the proposed hospital

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HEALTH chiefs are trying to reduce the number of hospital beds in the run-up to a planned move to a new £300m hospital.

Bosses at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust hope to reduce bed capacity as it progresses its plans to move to a new super-hospital at Wynyard.

Their plan is to have 568 general, acute and paediatric beds, as well as 30 maternity beds, 24 neo-natal beds and eight transitional care beds, which has been slightly amended since trust chiefs moved down the avenue of exploring private pension funding rather than Government-backed Private Finance Initiatives (PFI).

In 2008-09 there were 685 beds across the trust.

But as of the end of last month, there were 578.

A report to a trust board meeting held at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, this week says: “The capacity plan trajectory predicted demand for general and acute bed usage at the end of March 2011 to be 623 and 578 at the end of March 2012.

“Demand for the rolling 12 months from January 2011 to December 2011 was 632, a reduction of 16 beds on the last reported position (March 2011) and 54 more than the March 2012 forecast position.”

The report was given by Carole Langrick, the trust’s deputy chief executive and director of strategic development, as part of an update on the Momentum: pathways to care programme, which includes One Life Hartlepool and aims to bring care closer to people’s homes.

Ms Langrick said: “Bed reduction has slowed down.

“We have still had bed reductions in the past year but by no means the number we need and would like to have had.

“This is partly down to emergency demands we have had.”

She said the trust had been particularly busy this week and added: “While falling behind in terms of overall bed numbers we have very good arrangements in place to keep on top of that and address that.”

David Emerton, the trust’s medical director, called for everyone to play a part in helping to reduce admissions. “We need ownership of everybody in bed reduction and also ownership from our GP colleagues,” he said.

“We had more than 50 patients admitted to this hospital on Wednesday, which is one of the largest numbers ever.

“We are getting better and better in turning patients round in ambulatory care and need to continue the trend.”

Trust chief executive Alan Foster called for investment in community-based services in order to improve the situation.