Extra ward to ease pressure at Stafford's County Hospital
County Hospital bosses are looking to open up an extra ward to cope with the extra demand this winter.
In another move to ease pressures on staff certain procedures could be postponed for a fortnight in a bid to create even more space.
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) say opening ward 7, which is empty, will create 25 extra beds at the Weston Road site in Stafford, while another 15 would be freed up elsewhere in the hospital by pausing elective cases for two weeks.
Both ideas are being considered to be implemented in January.
In January this year an investigation was launched at County Hospital due to a high number of 12-hour trolley waits in A&E the week after Christmas which bosses declared was ‘inevitable’ due to the lack of beds.
Another temporary ward, ward 6, has already been opened up this year to help deal with existing pressure costing the trust more than £600,000 since the start of April to run.
They estimate it will cost £1.2m by the end of the year on top of the additional expenditure for opening ward 7.
The proposals for County come after the trust announced a £2m expansion creating 45 beds at sister hospital Royal Stoke.
Paula Clark, chief executive officer, said: “Nationally, the NHS as a whole will face challenges and pressures this winter, and UHNM is no different.
“We have been working hard internally, and with our partners, to implement plans that will improve our ability as an organisation to deal effectively with these challenges.
“As part of these plans, we have identified a number of specific actions that can be undertaken at both County Hospital and Royal Stoke University Hospital to help deal with increased pressure throughout the winter period.” Both hospitals are already seeing higher demand than usual.
A statement said: “UHNM is appealing for support from the local community to reduce the extreme pressures on A&E services at both County Hospital, Stafford and RBCurrently both sites are experiencing exceptionally high demand and the trust are asking the public to only attend Accident & Emergency departments for anything classed as an emergency including choking, chest pain, loss of consciousness, severe blood loss, broken bones, difficulty breathing, deep wounds or suspected stroke.”