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05.12.18

Staffordshire CCGs to halve hospital beds and sell sites as part of integrated care plans

Four of North Staffordshire’s five community hospitals will lose their beds under controversial proposals for an overhaul of local health services as CCGs look to move to a new model of integrated care.

Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs have published their “long-awaited” plan for a new model of care, which will see beds scrapped and local services delivered through integrated care teams and four integrated care hubs.

Under the proposals, which are set out in the CCGs’ pre-consultation business case (PCBC), the number of community beds in the area will be slashed from 264 to 132 and some hospital sites will be sold off.

Leek, Longton, Cheadle, and Bradwell hospitals will close their beds permanently, with only Haywood Hospital retaining its 77 beds, and the other community beds will be commissioned at care homes.

The PCBC is the result of several years of planning. The CCGs argue the new approach will allow them to provide a more sustainable service for an ageing population, principally by allowing care to be provided closer to where people live.

The new integrated care hubs would act as bases for specialist teams such as physiotherapy and palliative care, and will require millions of pounds of investment.

The current preferred option would see Haywood serve as the hub for the Stoke-on-Trent area, and various options are being considered for Stoke-on-Trent South, Newcastle, and the Moorlands.

The CGGs said they had been looking at how health and care services could be delivered differently “to meet local needs against a backdrop of significant challenges faced by local health economy.”

Local residents were invited to a meeting yesterday to discuss the future of their health services, but the CCGs have insisted that no final decision has been made yet and a 12-week public consultation is due to start on 10 December.

Despite some criticism from campaigners on the decision to remove beds rather than add more, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs argue that local services have been too reliant on community hospital beds. The shift away from bed-based care to a multidisciplinary approach “to support rehabilitation and reablement in the most appropriate place for patients” will see 132 beds remain in the region.

The CCGs’ accountable officer, Marcus Warnes, commented: “Fewer people needing a community bed means we have empty beds. Those beds have been temporarily closed because nobody needs them.

“The preferred option is not the cheapest option, but it is the most cost effective. It is the best use of taxpayers' money. The reason for that option is the beds at the Haywood Hospital are intended for people who have intensive rehabilitation support. They get intensive therapy and support, then we get them home.”

Image credit - PeopleImages

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