Tuesday 2nd November 2010
Although it’s only just November, Chesterfield Royal say they are already seeing a rise in admissions due to "winter illnesses", particularly on the emergency management and medical wards.
Hospital bosses are now advising that, in order to keep services moving and to make sure that patients continue to receive the high quality care and treatment they need, they have taken steps which mean that the hospital is less likely to close to emergency admissions.
This may mean some patients may have to continue their recovery and rehabilitation in community hospitals - not always the one closest to their home or relatives. The Royal is keen to point out, however, that it understands the difficulties this may cause, but says the needs of the critically ill local people come first.
"We don’t take this lightly," comments the Royal's chief executive, Eric Morton. "When a patient no longer requires acute hospital care, we would always hope to move them to their first choice community hospital. But we are being honest with our patients - and right from the point of admission, explaining that it might not always be possible to transfer them on to their preferred option.
"So far, the majority of our patients and their families have understood that we need to take this action to keep services flowing and to provide everyone with appropriate care - as soon as they need it."
A letter will be given to patients by the Chief Executive, explaining why he may need them to transfer to any of the twelve community hospitals in the area - including those at Bolsover, Clay Cross, Ashbourne, Heanor, Newholme (Bakewell) or Whitworth (Matlock).
Relatives, carers and friends are also told of the plans and the health service teams in the region will make effort to move patients closer to home as soon as they can.
The plans are not expected to affect every patient, but if a preferred community hospital is full, it is the only option available to free up much needed beds at the Royal.
"It's about being honest with people and explaining why this is necessary", says Mr Morton. "and appreciating that for patients and families it can cause additional worry and distress. We will make sure any families affected can access advice about other support services - such as community transport. Our senior nursing teams are on hand to answer questions once a decision has been made - and we are supported by Derbyshire Community Health Services and Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust who are working with us to make this system effective."
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