Gear­ing up for a busy win­ter de­mand

Ayrshire Post - - News - Sarah Hil­ley

Medics are gear­ing up for 40,000 pa­tients to turn up at hospi­tal doors for emer­gen­cies in Ayrshire this win­ter.

The health ser­vice also ex­pects in­creased de­mand on care homes dur­ing the cold spell. And there will be pres­sure on care at home ser­vices.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment granted NHS Ayrshire and Ar­ran £ 696,460 fund­ing to cope with sea­sonal de­mand.

The health board’s win­ter plan re­port said: “Acute hospi­tals an­tic­i­pate 40,000 un­sched­uled care pre­sen­ta­tions over the win­ter pe­riod col­lec­tively at com­bined as­sess­ment units and emer­gency de­part­ments.”

A health board spokes­woman said in a state­ment: “Our win­ter plan pro­vides as­sur­ance that the whole health and care sys­tem in Ayrshire and Ar­ran has worked to­gether to ad­e­quately meet the pre­dicted sea­sonal de­mands of win­ter.”

But Crosshouse and Ayr Hospi­tals face the colder months with dozens of fewer beds.

Forty two beds have been shut in Ayr. And at least 54 have gone at Crosshouse out of a to­tal of 89 due to close. The health board says they are no longer needed with more care tak­ing place in the com­mu­nity in­stead.

Com­ment­ing on the move, the spokes­woman said: “We are fo­cus­ing more on the re­design of spe­cial­ity wards in both Ayr and Crosshouse and in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity in the com­mu­nity, so that peo­ple can re­main at home rather than come into hospi­tal.”

She de­scribed the re­design of beds as a “pri­or­ity ac­tion.”

The board is pour­ing £ 2.5mil­lion an­nu­ally into “in­ter­me­di­ate care and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion” to im­prove sup­port to pa­tients at home. And ad­di­tional so­cial work­ers will be on hand to sup­port peo­ple be­ing dis­charged at the week­end and evenings. The board has com­mis­sioned 10 NHS- funded care home places for those be­ing dis­charged from hospi­tal with com­plex needs.

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