What University Hospitals Dorset is doing to ease pressure on NHS

What University Hospitals Dorset is doing to ease pressure on NHS

The PRESSURES faced by staff at Poole and Bournemouth hospitals are well known as bed space and increasing demand affect service on a daily basis.

However, there may be some “light at the end of the tunnel” as those in charge are making tangible changes on a large and small scale.

On a visit to Poole Hospital on December 15, consultants and other staff spoke about the impact that lack of social care funding was having on the flow of patients through the hospital, with 25 per cent of those in a waiting room ready for discharge but unable to leave.

University Hospitals Dorset COO Mark Mold spoke to Echo shortly after finishing a call with representatives of its community partners in local councils and health and social care providers.

Mr Mold is outspoken about the difficulties facing the NHS locally and nationally. However, the general feeling from him after the call was one of optimism.

Bournemouth Echo: Mark Mould, COO of University Hospitals DorsetMark Mould, Director of Operations at University Hospitals Dorset

“I believe that at UHD I have enough beds to be able to respond to emergency submissions that come to our door, I absolutely believe so,” he said. “What I don’t have enough capacity for is to accommodate those people who could be cared for elsewhere.

“But what I can say is that today, together with the broader health and social care system, we have agreed to a significant investment in out-of-hospital care. We have agreed to order and fund a significant number of additional beds in nursing homes and full-service residential homes.

“So additional capacity with BCP Council and Dorset Council, which means we could now be in a position where we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

The additional capacity is understood to be a multi-billion dollar investment.

Mr. Mold added: “This should unlock a lot of capacity to help us with this patient flow issue, decompress our EDs and take pressure off our teams.

“Our partners in the community have been working incredibly hard to find the capacity that we need, because whatever workforce issues we have, they have too.”

Bournemouth Echo: social care

Poole Hospital is exploring other tactics to prevent ambulance crews from getting stuck at the entrance to the emergency department.

An agreement was recently reached between UHD and the Southwest Ambulance Service that corridor space within the hospital will be used for ambulance patients.

A team of paramedics will be assigned to handle four ambulance admissions, freeing up three-quarters of all ambulance teams that would normally have had to wait at the hospital.

Mr. Mold said of this idea: “From the public’s perspective, it may not sound very good, but we have to get the message across that it’s better to get patients into a warm corridor rather than being stuck in a cold ambulance. outside.

“I am not proud that ambulances have to queue outside.

“No, it’s not perfect, but it allows three of the four ambulances to return to the community. Would you rather be in the back of a cold ambulance or in a warm hospital, being watched by doctors nearby?

Bournemouth Echo: Ambulances outside Poole HospitalAmbulances outside Poole Hospital (Image: N.Q.)

In addition to the additional funding confirmed by Mr Mould, Echo spoke with geriatrician Tom Bartlett, who described the plight of older patients who are medically ready to leave hospital, but can’t, as “heartbreaking”.

But then again, plans are being put in place that could change this dramatically. He said: “We are designing a ‘hospital at home’ where we are taking people who would need to be in an acute hospital bed and giving them hospital level treatment in their own home. That’s from child health to geriatric care.

“This reduces many of the risks associated with being stuck in the hospital and gives people the opportunity to be where they want to be. We have evidence showing that people get better faster at home.”

Eventually, a home hospital scheme will be run jointly between the UHD, Dorset County Hospital Trust and Dorset HealthCare for a county-wide service.

While Mr Mold claims the entire NHS is two to three years away from returning to pre-Covid levels of delivery, he is confident the various partners involved know what needs to be done to speed this up.

“There will always be things we can do better,” he said. “We hit and we fail as a system, but we are building solutions to make sure we get results most of the time.”

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