Not enough intensive care beds at Northwick Park Hospital, NHS chiefs told
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Northwick Park Hospital is battling a shortage of intensive care beds, leading to concerns about patient safety.
The Watford Road hospital has 33 beds for those in life-threatening conditions – but, according to a North West London Critical Care Network report completed over two years ago, needs at least 51.
The hospital has approved plans to convert the remainder of Edison ward over summer, adding 13 intensive care beds, ideally to be ready for next winter.
According to public minutes, the May 2 meeting of Brent Clinical Commissioning Group’s top table was told: “It is clear that NPH still has insufficient critical care capacity and concerns remain about patients coming to harm as a result.
“Given the seriousness of the concern, the trust is committed to providing a rapid response increase in critical care capacity at NPH.”
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Patients could be at risk through not being admitted to intensive care quickly enough, or being prematurely sent home because there isn’t enough space, it was said.
Answering concerns about how the workforce would cope with the additional beds, primary care interim assistant director Fana Hussain said there was a “robust recruitment process in place”.
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According to London North West University Healthcare Trust’s five-year clinical strategy, other “profound changes” planned to combat the issue involve moving more care to other hospitals in the trust, including shifting entire services such as the regional hyper-acute rehabilitation unit, which treats patients with severe and complex physical disabilities.
At a March 21 governing body meeting, the plan’s total cost was estimated at nearly £5.6million – an increase from the £4.5m estimate submitted on April 17, blamed on an extra lift and more kit being added.
A spokesperson for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust told this newspaper: “Our performance around the management of critical care beds has steadily improved in the past year and we continue to meet the agreed standards, despite the ongoing pressures facing health services.”