More beds will be staffed at Overdale and Plemont Ward to be used in January as an “escalation ward” and will help cope with a surge of illness over the winter period, according to Health’s Director General.
The measures were two of several outlined by Caroline Landon and Health Minister Deputy Karen Wilson as they were grilled during a Scrutiny hearing this week on how the under-pressure General Hospital would manage increased winter demand.
Responding to the comments, Scrutiny panel member Deputy Barbara Ward asked whether there was “going to be a staffing issue at Overdale if we open up the additional beds” over the winter period.
Deputy Karen Wilson said that she would need to “take stock” before providing a “more detailed answer” about how the Government will “provide better care over the winter period” due to staff members “coming and going”.
Pictured: Health Minister, Deputy Karen Wilson.
However, she sought to reassure the Panel that the Government was “committed” to carefully managing any potential clinical risks during the busy period.
Deputy Wilson also alluded to expediting patient discharges to help ease pressure.
“What I don’t want to see is patients stuck in hospital, so we’re going to have to think more considered as to whether or not we can develop different arrangements around that,” she said.
Ms Landon said that she was “working hard with the community in order to be able to transfer patients out of hospitals that no longer require acute care”, but admitted that those providing care within the community also “face the same challenges around staffing” as the Government.
Pictured: Caroline Landon, Director General for Health and Community Services.
Mrs Landon also outlined the additional staffing challenges around the relocation of some of the services that are currently situated at Overdale, but said that the Health Minister “is working with our Director of Clinical Services to ensure that we have the flexibility around that capacity should we need it going into winter”.
The Director General explained that the main way of coping with increased demand in winter will be to open Plemont Ward at the General Hospital in January as a “winter escalation ward” which she said will “substantially help with capacity”.
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