Friday, 11 May 2012

Care initiative must not be used as a blunt tool to close wards

Leicestershire Partnerships Trust (LPT) has contacted its staff to advise them of changes to the local community hospitals in West Leicestershire. This includes Ashby and Coalville Hospitals. The letter to staff informs them that LPT intend to close 48 beds (the equivalent of two wards) in this area.

I understand that LPT wishes to divert resources from hospital care to ‘Intensive Community Support’ (ICS) for frail elderly patients and people with dementia.

Whilst I support the overall objective – which follows on from initiatives begun under Labour – I am deeply concerned that cost-cutting and closures appear to be taking priority.

Patients and carers want better care at home. They don’t want to go into hospital unless they have to and they want to come home quickly when they do. ‘Care closer to home’ can only work if there is investment in upskilling staff and building care pathways that include social care providers. The Government’s own report on pilots to integrate health and social care, started under Labour, have shown that joined up services can work – but make it clear there is no money to be saved by improving care in this way.

We all should be deeply concerned that LPTs plans to close wards are premature. We need to see that this project really does provide better outcomes for the most vulnerable of patients. We must be opposed to any mis-use of the project as nothing more than a cost-cutting exercise. We need to see evidence that LPT intend to invest enough in developing staff skills in this area. Opportunities to ‘shadow’ counterparts in the community are welcome but hardly sufficient.

2 comments:

  1. Completely agree with your veiws...
    Even now it takes a very long time for Social Services to put a package in place,at home,for patients that are being discharged.Patients need to be in a hospital not in their home! What was the criterea that LPT used that gave them the impression that 48 patients could be treated at home.If 48 beds are lost at Coalville Hospital thats the beginning of the end for it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Completely agree with your veiws...
    Even now it takes a very long time for Social Services to put a package in place,at home,for patients that are being discharged.Patients need to be in a hospital not in their home! What was the criterea that LPT used that gave them the impression that 48 patients could be treated at home.If 48 beds are lost at Coalville Hospital thats the beginning of the end for it!

    ReplyDelete