60 beds to be reopened at Stafford's County Hospital
Sixty beds are to be reopened at the County Hospital in Stafford as part of a major overhaul of services, health chiefs have announced.
They were closed earlier this year in part due to staff shortages and will be open before the end of January, with 18 being made available in ward 12 before the end of the month. It has also been announced that 25 extra day case beds will be opened for patients who have surgery and are discharged the same day.
Ten consultants have been taken on to help combat the staffing issues and an extra 200 nurses are undergoing induction to start work at the County Hospital and the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
The move was revealed by Mark Hackett, chief executive of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which took over the hospital on November 1.
Mr Hackett has also said work is under way to computerise patient records as part of a £20 million investment in improving IT infrastructure.
He was speaking at a roadshow aimed at informing the public about the changes, which will also see paediatrics, consultant-led maternity and acute surgery switch from Stafford to the new Royal Stoke University Hospital in the new year.
Mr Hackett said he was also eager to put consultants on the 'frontline' with the new positions created in areas auch as A&E, x-ray and gastroenterology.
He revealed that £2.5m would be set aside to look at how catering and hospital food can be improved following complaints.
He added: "We are bringing an expert from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to come and work with us and look at what the options are."
More than £300m will be spent on overhauling hospital services in Staffordshire.
A total of £150m will be spent at Stafford, meaning A&E will double in size, outpatient facilities will be expanded, wards will be refurbished and a new theatre opened.
Stafford will get a new MRI scanner and possible new eye surgery unit.
Mr Hackett said now the County Hospital and the Royal Stoke University Hospital were under the same NHS Trust, it made transferring patients easier.
Speaking about the transition, he said: "We spent a lot of time preparing for it. It's gone reasonably smoothly. We've continued business as usual."
The remainder of the £300m – around £50m – will be spent on moving services from Stafford and Cannock to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.
Grandfather-of-four John James, who was at the meeting, said he welcomed the investment, but the 73-year-old, of Walton, Stone, said: "If they had put the money in before, this wouldn't have been necessary."
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