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Hospital is holding up despite the winter beginning to bite

17th December 2013
Posted by Gateway 97.8

Basildon Hospital says it is coping well with the winter strain, thanks to GPs.

Because of the cold weather and slips on ice from the winter beginning to bite, wards have experienced an increase in patients in recent weeks.

The trust was struggling to cope with a lack of beds and staff, this time last year.

However, this year, to better deal with the winter increase, a new 28-bed ward has eased the situation, as well as, the hospital posting GPs in A&E.

A scale of green, amber, red and black is used to judge the situation in Accident and Emergency.

Chief executive, Clare Panniker, said the hospital was coping well.

She said, “Compared to this time last year, it is hugely better.

“Apart from Monday, when we had to go to amber, we have been green since October. In comparison, last year we were pretty much red all the time from the same month. A combination of things is helping.

“We mustn’t forget, it’s still only mid-December, but we are managing demand better. It’s partly because of our new bed capacity, which opened at the end of last week.

“We will also have another 14 beds, which are still being refurbished, and will be ready at the end of December.

“We have also recruited an additional 200 nursing staff and we are also using GPs in A&E.”

To take the weight off doctors and nurses, GPs are now able to treat the patients and discharge them.

To also further ease the strain on the hospital, two GPs are on from 9am to midnight, seven days a week, and are able to get patients appointments with their local GPs.

The scheme is part of a new partnership between the hospital and the clinical commissioning groups, which decides how to use resources, including GPs.