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Major shake-up in delivery of healthcare as local sites get massive upgrades
A MASSIVE overhaul of community hospitals that will bring sweeping changes to the way healthcare is delivered is on the way.
Your Worcester News can reveal that community hospitals across the south of the county – notably in Malvern and Evesham – will be beefed up with additional facilities, staffing and expertise to try to relieve the strain on other areas of the already under-pressure NHS.
Health providers and commissioners are teaming up to implement the changes, with major changes set to be in place as soon as April.
Resources and facilities at hospitals in Malvern, Evesham, Pershore and Tenbury will be substantially upgraded in a bid to relieve the burden on the acute sector and ease pressures at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
All sites will have high-level medical staffing upped, with cover at a maximum between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm.
Bolstered staff expertise will mean the sites offer a far greater range of day treatments and outpatient services, making community hospitals suitable for treating a wider number of people.
The transformation will be more pronounced at Malvern and Evesham, with the sites earmarked as specialist centres for a range of surgeries including endoscopy, nerve and transfusion treatments.
The two sites will also pioneer new ‘sub acute’ beds for patients who woud have been too unwell to be supported in community hospitals.
Earlier this year, South Worcestershire Clinical Com-missioning Group (CCG) spoke out against Worcester-shire Health and Care Trust proposals to reduce the number of beds at community hospitals.
But those plans were drop-ped and now the two organisations are working together to bring about the hospital transformation.
Nisha Sankey, head of service development at the CCG, said the changes will bolster currently under-used facilities in a cash-strapped NHS and help meet the demands of an ageing population with increasingly complex medical needs.
“Everybody is aware of the financial pressures across the health and social care system and getting the best value for money out of every pound we spend on behalf of our communities is critical,” she said.
“We are aware that we could do more and have yet to fully realise the potential of our community hospitals, particularly the newer sites.”
Sue Harris, director of strategy and business development at Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, said: “We have always known the importance of community hospitals to local people.
“All of the people we have spoken to have said they would like them to do more.”
The proposals have won the backing of Worcestershire County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, with Coun Frances Smith delighted to see the importance of community hospitals being recognised “at long last”.
They questioned what the proposals would mean for Worcester – which does not have an official community hospital.
But CCG chief operating officer Simon Trickett said the city already has facilities such as the Worcester Inter-mediate Care Unit offering more robust treatment.
He also reiterated the intention to create a new urgent-care centre, fulfilling a similar purpose, at Worcester-shire Royal Hospital.
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