Hywel Dda proposes plans to deal with winter pressures
3:18pm Monday 21st October 2013 in News
Hywel Dda Health Board is proposing putting plans in place to deal with the significant challenge presented each year by increasing winter healthcare demands across Wales.
The health board has a responsibility to ensure continued safe care at this time of increased pressure and is putting plans in place now to respond to the anticipated increase in activity over the winter season.
Dr Phil Kloer, Director of Clinical Services, said: “In past years, there have been too many operations cancelled at the last minute due to emergency admissions. In previous winters, we had up to 160 additional beds in place often being managed by temporary staff. This is not a position we can sustain this year.
“To address this, we propose to manage our bed stock and elective surgical lists in a better way during the busiest months this winter to ensure we have the staff capacity to manage emergencies and the most urgent patients.
”We would like to reassure patients that if they have an urgent clinical need they will be seen. Emergency and cancer procedures, the vast majority of orthopaedic day surgery and other elective procedures will also continue.”
The proposals include:
• Using our theatres for those with the highest clinical need
• Reviewing and re-profiling patients on our orthopaedic waiting lists increasing our day surgery cases and maximising alternative methods of treatment through non surgical pathways
• Undertaking work in outpatients to monitor patients on surgical lists
• Monitoring the position on a weekly basis and reviewing our position towards the end of the winter surge
• A non-emergency surgical shutdown for two weeks over Christmas
These proposed actions will help to ensure safer services for all patients over the winter period and that the Health Board meets its legal duty to provide safe patient care and meet national quality standards.
There are a number of key drivers that make winter pressure planning important:
• Safety: the Health Board will not compromise on safety and we will not support unsafe services
• Quality: the Health Board has to meet national standards; a number of high profile reports have recently highlighted what can go wrong if services do not meet these standards
• Sustainability: services have to be sustainable and delivered within our allocated resources at a time of increasing public service austerity.
• Staffing: too many services are delivered through the use of temporary agency and locum staff and this position is unsustainable and leads to sub-optimal care
Dr Sue Fish, Medical Director, said: “We believe these proposals will help to ensure safer services for all patients over the winter period and that the Health Board meets its legal duty to provide safe patient care. Affected staff are being consulted with and we intend to monitor the situation closely and review our position towards the end of the winter surge.”
During the winter period, it is more important than ever that patients Choose Well to ensure they get the right service in the right place at the right time. Full details on local services can be found at www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/choose-well
The Health Board is also asking people suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting or flu to not visit any hospital or care facility to help reduce the spread of these infections to patients and staff.