of Burnham Hospital is safe despite bed losses', say bosses
future of Burnham-On-Sea's hospital is safe, despite plans to
remove several beds there in a cost-cutting shake-up by NHS bosses,
it has been confirmed this week.
Burnham's War Memorial Hospital in Love Lane currently has 22
beds with two temporarily closed, which Somerset's Clinical Commissioning
Group has proposed should be permanently closed.
"The remaining beds will not be closed and neither are there
any plans to close Burnham Hospital," spokesman Paul Courtney
told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week.
It comes amid ambitious plans to develop Somerset's community
health services and create a clear framework for the long-term
development of the county's 13 community hospitals.
At a meeting of Somerset's Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG)
Governing Body, members discussed and agreed to take forward nine
key proposals set out in the CCG's community health service review.
Among the proposals was a recommendation to permanently close
40 community hospital beds. These beds have been temporarily closed
for the last 12 months, and monitoring of bed usage over that
time indicates they were surplus to requirements. A further 17
beds, temporarily closed for the last 12 months, would be kept
in reserve by Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, should
they be needed during peaks of demand this winter.
Commenting upon the important role community hospitals play,
both now and in the future, Dr Matthew Dolman, Chairman of Somerset
CCG, said: "There is no question of the CCG proposing the
closure of any community hospital. However, people are living
longer and living with more long-term illness, like diabetes,
heart disease, dementia and chronic lung disease. We must plan
now if we are going to prepare our community hospitals to meet
this rapid rise in demand for health services and achieve this
within existing financial resources."
Dr Dolman added that any change to community services will be
in a phased and integrated way over the next three to five years.
The timescale for developing services will be dependent upon
a number of factors, such as enhancing existing provision for
community based care, altering the choice of patients and referral
patterns of family doctors, and continuing to support hospitals
to work flexibly in order to manage peaks of demand, such as those
experienced last winter.
The review suggests that the community hospital in Burnham-On-Sea
be given the designation of a 'step down' hospital to provide
care for people who have been discharged from a district hospital
but who still need hospital based rehabilitation. Some inpatient
beds would be available to help patients recover from ill health,
but there would be a focus upon improving health and well-being
and supporting patients with long-term conditions, like diabetes,
chronic lung disease and dementia.
Somerset CCG members have approved the recommendation to permanently
close 40 community hospital beds. There will ongoing patient and
public engagement regarding the recommendation and the designation
of community hospitals as either 'Step Up' or Step Down'. This
wider engagement will involve patients, carers, NHS staff and
the public and get underway from early 2016.
Copies of the Somerset CCG Community Service Review can be viewed
or downloaded from the CCG's web site at: www.somersetccg.nhs.uk.
Members of the public who would like to know more about Somerset
Clinical Commissioning Group's community health service review
or share their views can email: firstname.lastname@example.org