Inpatients within the Mid Ulster Hospital faced the largest cuts in hospital beds in the entire Northern Health & Social Care Trust (NHSCT) during 2011/12. This is scandalous considering the bed crisis within the Trust which led to Valarie Jackson, head of acute services NHSCT, stating in response to the Rutter and Hinds report that 90% of all waits in A&E are because there are no beds.
Currently there is an average of 37 inpatient beds at the Mid Ulster Hospital, this is a fraction of the former 189 fully acute inpatient beds it had 10 years ago, at the moment Thompson House is to close by Jan 2013, and these patients are to be moved to ward 2 within the hospital. As of yet this relatively new ward cannot be used as there is a problem with the floor. This beggar’s beliefs as these problems were not occurring when the ward was in use just over 1 year ago, if these issues were present while the ward was operational then serious questions must be raised about the Northern Trusts ability to act on clinical risks properly.
Within the Northern Trust for the year 2011/12 a total of 97 beds was lost, 38% of which were in the Mid Ulster hospital. Since the Northern Trust came into effect a total of 362 beds have been lost. Although the Trust intends to open a new 24 bedded ward at the Antrim there will still be a net loss of beds, bed shortages are one of the most clinical dangers within the Trust, one which they compound by their own actions.
Does it make any sense that the Trust cut more beds? There has to be some accountability to this move and every step must be taken to insert more inpatient beds to the Mid Ulster Hospital for patients that do not require 24 hour consultant oversight, like it was intended to have.
The availability of inpatient beds affects the Mid Ulsters hospitals abilty to perform remaining services in day case surgery and inpatinet care. Currently within the hospital in terms of inpatients the following services can be facilitated; General Surgery, ENT, Ophthalmology, Pain Management, General Medicine, Gastroenterology, Haematology (Clinical), Neurology, Paediatrics, Geriatric Medicine, Gynaecology, General Practice (Other).
If bed losses are continued then these services will not be sustained, so in essence the Northern Trust are creating an environment in where by their own actions they are fracturing these services so that in the future they can remove them. This tactic was used to close maternity and the A&E, they got away with it then and without opposition they will get away with it again
The Population plans produced by the Dept Health specifically state for Mid Ulster Hospital to lose more services and turn the Hospital into a health center, the plans state;
“There is a need to rationalise the delivery of day surgery services currently provided from Whiteabbey and Mid Ulster Hospitals to ensure we make best use of skilled surgeons, doing more of this work within Antrim and Causeway acute sites. Whiteabbey and Mid Ulster, along with the other community hospitals have an important role to play in developing more local provision particularly in relation to community/primary care led services. This will be one of the areas we will explore within the Integrated Care Partnerships as they develop, aiming to strengthen the working arrangements that are already in place between the Trust and local GPs.”
The Northern Trust has seen excessive waiting times and lack of internal capacity in Inpatients, this has led to patients being sent to the independent sector for treatment at a further cost to the public.
As at the 31st July 2012 there were 1,179 patients waiting over 13 week for their day case or inpatient surgery within the Trust. A further 429 patients were waiting in the Independent Sector for treatment.
There is a proven lack of capacity within the Trust to meeting an ever increasing demand for services. For the year 2011/12 the Northern Trust held 29,734 sessions within its operating theaters 4,517 of which were held in the Mid Ulster Hospital.
Already in the space of a year despite an increasing demand for service the Northern Trust have carried out 1,361 less non-elective inpatient cases within the Trust, with Mid Ulster Hospital there were over 2 thirds (68% drop, 695 actual) less life saving cases held in the hospital;
- 2010/11 non-elective inpatient cases NHSCT – 29,160
- 2011/12 non-elective inpatient cases NHSCT - 27,799
- 2010/11 non-elective inpatient cases Mid Ulster Hospital – 1,024
- 2011/12 non-elective inpatient cases Mid Ulster Hospital- 329
Two General Medicine wards in Mid Ulster Hospital closed in June 2011. Activity in Mid Ulster Hospital increased due to the specialty of some beds changing from a General Medicine specialty to a Geriatric Medicine specialty.
Services at the Mid Ulster hospital are continuously under treat and are being removed by stealth, it is about time all those in a position to prevent this rot speak out for Mid Ulster Patients and for a Hospital that has given birth and saved the lives of so many Mid Ulster residents.
Elective: In medicine, something chosen (elected). An elective procedure is one that is chosen (elected) by the patient or physician that is advantageous to the patient but is not urgent.
Non – Elective: Emergency surgery is non-elective surgery performed when the patient's life or well-being is in direct jeopardy. Largely performed by surgeons specializing in emergency medicine, this surgery can be conducted for many reasons but occurs most often in urgent or critical cases in response to trauma, cardiac events, poison episodes, brain injuries, and paediatric medicine.