Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bed Numbers.

It has been pointed out to me that I have used an incorrect figure for the bed complement at City Hospital. Having carefully researched the matter I realise that the figure of 1100 beds was historical going back to the time before a previous management had enhanced the size of the car park by demolishing the wards for elderly patients, thus thrusting West Birmingham into the mainstream of care in the community. It also saved money by removing the need to pay the capital charges and saved on the maintenance bill.

Getting accurate data on beds is always difficult because it is frequently changing. Should we consider only beds that are open, or take into account those that are closed whether it be permanently or temporarily?

The data I now present was obtained from very reliable sources on the 1st August so it is bang up to date.

The potential full bed complement for City Hospital is 715 beds. However the following wards are closed:
Two Elderly Care Wards on Sheldon Block each containing 28 beds.
M8 the Rheumatology Ward containing 17 beds.
D29 Ward containing 17 beds.
D28 Ward containing 17 beds.
D22 Ward containing 18 beds.
D19 Ward containing 20 beds.
D9 Ward containing 20 beds.

Total beds closed 165.

If we subtract 165 from 715 we get the current bed complement at City Hospital which is 550.

Now let us look over to the other half of the Trust.

Again the data was obtained today:
The potential full bed complement for Sandwell General Hospital is 397 beds.
However believe it or not Sandwell has:
Priory 3 Ward closed, an Acute Cerebrovascular Accident Ward 28 beds.
Lyndon 4 Ward, a Medical Ward is closed 32 beds.

So with 60 beds closed Sandwell's current bed complement is 337 beds.

What about Rowley Regis Hospital?
This hospital has 84 beds for Rehabilitation and mercifully they are all open.

Why are so many beds shut? A very pertinent question. In purely financial terms beds means nurses. Less beds means fewer nurses. There is a big turnover in nursing staff and it is easy to reduce the nursing complement to match the bed complement by restricting recruitment. Furthermore it is possible to reduce the bank and agency nursing bill. So good news the financial deficit has been miraculously transformed but there has been a price.

If we consider the closed beds as a percentage of the total bed stock, 23% are closed at City and 15% at Sandwell if we ignore Rowley Regis Hospital, or 12% if we include it.
City Hospital remains the larger hospital but if this differential closure rate were to continue the hospitals could become of similar size in bed terms.

Within the last few weeks a very good friend of mine a senior gentleman was admitted to City Hospital. He presented with a severe bout of pneumonia and needed IV antibiotics and the care of the physicians. He was full of praise for the medical and nursing staff. He thought the nurses were a greatly committed bunch of people. However he was rather dismayed to have been nursed on the ladies ward. He did not mind too much but he felt really sorry for the ladies!
Do we need those beds? You bet we do.



At 9:39 pm, Blogger Louis said...

It is unacceptable to have a male on a female ward. To be fair to the trust however the majority of bed closures have been genuine efficiency improvement by the Trust (no honestly). Delayed discharges have been halved over the last year; the opening of the BTC has led to long overdue improvements in the elective/ daycase ratio; and patients are being admitted on the day of operation when possible instead of the night before. Having closed wards available has also allowed extra capacity to be opened when emergency admissions increase, something that has been needed for years.

I guess the final point is that the Trust is going to move to a site with about 650 beds (if the new hospital gets built)? If they were not reducing the amount of beds needed there would be serious questions about the wisdom of building a new hospital with less beds than are available now

At 11:10 pm, Blogger Ken Taylor said...

Having the correct number of beds to meet the needs of patients must be the name of the game. A little bird told me last week that D29 Ward at City Hospital is being opened on an as and when basis to deal with all sorts of admissions. It is staffed by bank and agency nurses which is a far from ideal situation. Patients need care on the ward appropriate to their condition by nurses that are used to the hospital and the ward which will have developed specialist expertise in the necessary clinical areas.
Ken Taylor.

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