Admissions suspended at Withernsea Hospital
City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP CIC) has decided to temporarily halt admissions to community beds at Withernsea Community Hospital because of staff shortages and the ability to provide high quality continuity of care, pending a decision by the Secretary of State for Health. NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supports this decision.
The community beds have only minimal occupancy at present, but current patients will not be affected, as they will remain on the ward until they are assessed as being ready to be discharged and CHCP CIC will work with patients and their relatives to make sure this happens as smoothly as possible. It is expected that the last patient will be discharged by the end of August 2017.
Andrew Burnell, chief executive of CHCP CIC, said, “While we realise that this is not an ideal situation, patient and staff safety must come first. Our colleagues on this ward have been doing a fantastic job of looking after their patients in what have been increasingly difficult circumstances.
“There have been occasions when staff shortages have been so severe we have been very close to having to move elderly patients to another community hospital, often in an evening, because nurses have called in sick or agency staff are not available. This is not good for either patients or staff.”
In March, the CCG made decisions on the future of urgent care services across the region, which included permanently closing the ward in Withernsea to redesign services and workforce to support more people in alternative settings, in either Active Recovery beds (previously called Time to Think beds) or their own homes. Active Recovery beds are in a care home setting and used to improve discharge from hospital for patients who are medically fit but need complex packages of care or equipment to be put in place before they return home.
These decisions were referred to the Secretary of State for Health by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Health, Care and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the outcome is yet to be decided.
Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer, East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group commented, “The CCG Governing body fully understand and support this temporary closure, needed to maintain the safety and care of our patients which is of paramount importance. Over the coming months we will review the impact of the temporary change to ensure continued quality of care and patient safety.
“The CCG has been working with our community services provider in preparation for making changes to services and we were hoping to hear the views of the Secretary of State for Health before implementation, however lengthening timescales are now affecting service provision and patient safety.
“Business continuity plans have been put into place and the service has already been running below full capacity due to staff shortages, giving rise to increasing concerns over patient safety and continuity of good quality care. These plans are not sustainable in the short term and have therefore led to the decision by CHCP to close the ward temporarily.
“Alternative community beds will be available at East Riding Community Hospital and through spot purchasing care home beds in Holderness where necessary. We will also continue with our procurement of Active Recovery Beds (previously called Time to Think beds) in Holderness while we await the outcome of the referral to the Secretary of State.”