Monday, 23 July 2012
Clinicians and managers overseeing urgent changes to acute medical services at Neath Port Hospital in September are considering transferring one of the wards at Cimla Hospital to Neath Port Talbot.
The move could provide additional clinical cover for Neath Port Talbot Hospital, and offer an opportunity to improve diagnostic provision for patients.
A firm decision has not yet been made, but the idea was shared with staff at Cimla Hospital earlier today (Monday 23rd July). More work is now underway to consider the possible move in more depth. It is part of the ongoing considerations over the best future use of Ward C at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. From September its acute medical beds will transfer to Singleton and the Princess of Wales hospitals.
A focus is now on Cimla’s Brynedd Ward - a 32 bed intensive rehabilitation ward - and whether it could transfer to Neath Port Talbot Hospital. Consultant Physician Dr Steve Lennox, Clinical Director for Integrated medicine in Neath Port Talbot, said:
“Moving Brynedd Ward from Cimla to Neath Port Talbot Hospital will allow us to further strengthen the clinical provision at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
“It will also improve access for patients to state-of-the-art diagnostic services at Neath Port Talbot Hospital which are not available at Cimla.
“At the moment patients in Brynedd Ward often have to transfer to Neath Port Talbot Hospital for diagnostic tests. If this ward move goes ahead they will no longer face that inconvenience and will receive a more seamless service on one site.”
There are currently no plans for the rest of Cimla Hospital, although community hospitals and the future shape of community services in general are being considered as part of the Health Board’s wider Changing for the Better programme, which will be subject to full public engagement over coming months.
A multi-agency team of doctors, nurses, managers and representatives from the ambulance service and the ABM Community Health Council are overseeing the urgent acute medical services changes at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
Key parts of the plan so far include:
- Keeping wards D and E, at Neath Port Talbot Hospital open. This will allow medical patients to move back to Neath Port Talbot Hospital once they have had their initial emergency treatment at other ABMU hospitals (unless they have already been discharged straight home).
- Transferring the beds from the third Neath Port Talbot medical ward, Ward C, to Singleton and the Princess of Wales hospitals.
- Transferring the Neath Port Talbot Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) beds to Morriston Hospital.
It is estimated that around 26 patients daily, who would have used Neath Port Talbot Hospital, will instead go to the other hospitals as a result of the urgent change. Working with GPs and the ambulance service, the expected flow of these patients will be 80% to the Swansea hospitals and 20% to Bridgend.
The plans aim to have:
· 64 beds remaining in two medical wards in Neath Port Talbot Hospital for patients returning to finish their care.
· 17 assessment beds in Morriston Hospital for Neath Port Talbot medical patients, along with
· 22 beds in Singleton Hospital and
· 10 beds in the Princess of Wales Hospital
However, these bed numbers are likely to be fluid in the short term to allow flexibility during the early transition period.
No job losses are planned as a result of these changes, but the Health Board is very aware that this is an uncertain time for staff and we want to do all we can to mitigate this.
The decision to urgently remove the acute medical service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital was taken on clear safety grounds following the advice of very senior doctors. There would not be enough doctors of sufficient experience to ensure acute medical patients were cared for safely if we continued to admit them to Neath Port Talbot Hospital from September.
The hospital, will, however, continue to have some medical cover, including newly-recruited middle-grade doctors with continued support from junior doctors. There will also be doctors available 24/7 to deal with unexpected urgent care among patients already on the wards – but emergency medical patients will no longer be admitted.
Meanwhile, work is continuing on a detailed workforce plan, along with consideration of how best to use the Medical Assessment Unit in Neath Port Talbot when its beds move to Morriston Hospital.