Over the last few months, as an executive team, we have weighed up a number of options to respond to the sustained increase in demand for services. Over summer we usually see a reduction in patients requiring urgent and emergency care but not this year and we think this will continue.
I am acutely aware of the additional pressure this puts on colleagues across the Trust and patients are potentially not receiving the high level of care that I know we all want to deliver. Not only this, the way we deliver some services are costly and a poor use of resources and this undermines our ability to meet some of our constitutional targets, like those for elective care. We have explored, and continue to explore, a range of options, including with partners such as BMI and CareRooms.
We have decided to take forward a number of projects. On 12 July Chief Operating Officer James Thomas took over my message of the week to tell you about the relaunch of the Making Every Day Count programme. James and the team are making great progress and are exploring a range of new ways of working. Look out for further news in the coming weeks and months.
Alongside Making Every Day Count and our wider transformation programme, we will be consolidating existing escalation beds plans and we need to do this work at pace. This means creating better quality, larger and more efficiently staffed patient care areas. At the same time we are creating some additional beds. Finding additional space to do this is not an easy task. Many options have been considered and we now have a clearer idea of the changes we want to make. But, as always, we remain flexible and adaptable as plans can change.
Current plans include:
Changes at Ashford
We are planning to open a new surgical theatre at Ashford Hospital in spring 2020. This will provide us with the potential to move some elective surgery from St Peter’s to Ashford.
Changes at St Peter’s
By December we are planning to open two new wards:
- Acute Medical Assessment and treatment centre – this joint area will comprise a seating and trolley area for assessment and a new ward with beds. Some patients will be assessed, treated and discharged within the day from the unit and there will be 24 new beds for patients who have been assessed and are waiting for a medical admission.
- Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) – we’re expanding our SAU space to increase our capacity for surgical assessment.
At the same time we are reviewing the use of Chaucer ward to give it a permanent role within the Trust.
To find space for these two new wards, we are relocating some outpatient services, these include rheumatology and physiotherapy. You can read on our Physiotherapy pages about some outpatient physiotherapy moving to the River Bourne Club. This is a real win: win – patients get access to better facilities and equipment and we have freed up some space at St Peter’s for a new ward.
We are talking to the teams affected but I recognise that change can be challenging so please do ask questions and share your views and concerns. As you go around the hospitals you will start to see work happening. The timescales are challenging so we need to make quick progress. But it also means opportunities as we’ll have new roles available. As you know, we like to promote from within Team ASPH, so do look out for new jobs.
Have a great weekend whatever you are up to.
With best wishes