Ex­tra £1m in NHS ac­tion plan to cope with win­ter

● Grampian health chiefs look to ease pres­sure over busy pe­riod

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY KIRSTEN ROBERT­SON

NHS Grampian will plough an ex­tra £1 mil­lion into an ac­tion plan de­signed to help hospitals cope with a surge in de­mand over the win­ter.

Health chiefs hope the new scheme, which will be dis­cussed at a board meet­ing to­day, will pre­vent ac­ci­dent and emer­gency de­part­ments from be­com­ing in­un­dated and free up badly-needed beds.

It is hoped that the raft of mea­sures will also im­prove wait­ing times and ease the pres­sure on staff over the tra­di­tion­ally busy pe­riod.

The ex­tra cash will be spent on staff to “sup­port ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity”.

For the first time, the win­ter plan in­cludes aims to draft in ex­tra em­ploy­ees to cover an in­crease in beds avail­able at Aberdeen Royal In­fir­mary (ARI) and com­mu­nity hospitals across Aberdeen­shire.

When “staffing chal­lenges” ap­pear within those smaller hospitals, ex­tra medics might be de­ployed there to help man­age pa­tient flow.

To pre­vent over­crowd­ing, 36 new beds will be made avail­able at ARI along­side four ad­di­tional beds for stroke pa­tients.

Five “very shel­tered hous­ing” flats and 20 new so­cial care beds will op­er­ate as half­way houses be­tween hospi­tal and home for pa­tients on the mend.

The doc­u­ment states: “The in­creased rate of com­plex emer­gency ad­mis­sions un­der­lines the im­por­tance of surge and ca­pac­ity plan­ning in or­der to be suf­fi­ciently pre­pared for the win­ter pe­riod.”

The plan was de­vel­oped around “lessons learned” from pre­vi­ous years.

Last year un­sched­uled at­ten­dances across Grampian in­creased by 2.2% with Royal Aberdeen Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment re­port­ing the great­est in­crease, of 5.7%.

Elec­tive ad­mis­sions – when a pa­tient has a bed booked by a doc­tor – av­er­aged at 174.1 per day, an in­crease of 13.8% from the same pe­riod in 2017-18.

Mean­while, daily emer­gency ad­mis­sions across all sites in Grampian av­er­aged 154.4 per day, an in­crease of 1.3% com­pared to the year prior.

GP prac­tices will be set up to of­fer “on the day” ap­point­ments based on de­mand and there will be aware­ness cam­paigns to en­sure peo­ple at­tend at the “most ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vice for their needs”.

Board pa­pers said fewer peo­ple re­ceived a flu vac­ci­na­tion last year. The tar­get up­take of 75% was not achieved in any risk group apart from peo­ple older than 75.

The most sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in up­take was in preg­nant women, down 6.8% in those with other un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and 3.4% in those with no other risk fac­tors. Di­a­betic pa­tients re­ceiv­ing the vac­ci­na­tion fell 3.3%.

The health board has vowed to en­cour­age more peo­ple to get their flu vac­ci­na­tion, which could pre­vent hospi­tal ad­mis­sions over the win­ter.

The jab will be of­fered to trans­port and in­fras­truc­ture staff across Aberdeen­shire, in par­tic­u­lar the es­sen­tial work­ers as­so­ci­ated with snow clear­ing and grit­ting.

It emerged yes­ter­day that the sched­uled sup­ply of chil­dren’s flu vac­cines had been delayed.

A “UK-wide is­sue” af­fect­ing the sup­ply of the vac­cine, the nasal spray called Fluenz Te­tra, means that pupils across the re­gion are miss­ing out.

T h e S c o t t i s h Gov­ern­ment ad­vised NHS Grampian to pri­ori­tise its re­main­ing ex­ist­ing stock of the vac­cine for chil­dren aged be­tween two and five, who are not yet in school, and those aged five to 18 with un­der­ly­ing health con­di­tions.

An NHS Grampian spokes­woman said: “We are cur­rently work­ing to find al­ter­na­tive ways in which we can make vac­ci­na­tions avail­able to pupils whose in­oc­u­la­tion has been post­poned, once the sup­ply of vac­cine re­sumes.”

Pho­to­graph by Chris Sum­ner

WIN­TER IS COM­ING: The plan in­cludes aims to draft in ex­tra em­ploy­ees to cover a rise in beds avail­able at ARI.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.