Northwick Park Hospital struggles with 100 beds shortage
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A health chief has revealed Northwick Park hospital (NPH) is short of 100 beds as it struggles to cope with an influx of patients following the closure of another casualty unit.
The hospital in Watford Road, Sudbury, has seen an additional 15 admissions a day, three more than originally predicted, since the accident and emergency department at Central Middlesex hospital (CMH) was axed as part of the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future plan.
In addition, only 72.8 per cent of patients were seen within four hours at the unit during the week ending September 21, a figure which significantly falls below the 95 per cent NHS target.
A total of 130 patients waited between four and 12 hours to be admitted to a ward.
David McVittie, chief executive of the newly formed London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both sites said: “It has been a challenging few weeks but we had an equally challenging time in terms of numbers and performance two years ago so we shouldn’t just associate it with the closure of Central Middlesex’s A&E.”
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Tina Benson, the trust’s director of operations, claims that A&E admissions is now returning in line to the level that was previously anticipated. Adding that the trust has been honest about the need for more beds prior to the closure casualty unit in CMH, Mr McVittie, who will step down from his role next year, continued: “Quite a number of elements in our modelling and planning were correct and other bits were not.”
The unit was deemed to require improvement following an inspection by Prof Sir Mike Richards, of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
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Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP for Brent North, previously supported proposals to axe the casualty at CMH as long as the works for a new A&E at NPH was completed and open to the public beforehand. He said: “They shouldn’t have put additional pressure onto a unit which has been attacked in the recently CQC report before they completed the improvement works at the hospital. That in my view is a serious failure in management.”
In mid-September, the hospital opened a new 20-bed acute medical unit to help alleviate the pressures caused by the increase in patients. It prevented 10 hospital admissions in its first 24 hours of opening, according to the trust.
A new £21million accident and emergency department at NPH will include 40 individual bays and will have more nurses working once it is open, with 30 nurses per shift compared to the current 23 when it opens at a revised date in mid-November.
Mr Mc Vittie said: “The staff has handled the increase in patients absolutely brilliant and are providing the best possible care –their attitude has been fantastic.
He added. “We are hoping to have enough beds by next Autumn.”