More than 50 beds will be made available at Shropshire’s two main hospitals to cope with thousands of extra patients expected this winter, health bosses have revealed.
An extra 28 beds will be made available at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and 25 at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury under contingency plans announced yesterday.
The hospitals are expecting 2,000 extra emergency patients this year, a board meeting of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust heard yesterday.
The meeting was told that both hospitals are handling six per cent more patients so far this year than last year.
It comes after the trust last year announced plans to axe 115 beds at the hospitals by March 2013 following advice from two firms of consultants.
So far 82 beds have been cut. But now emergency admissions have risen so extra beds are being made available until March as a contingency.
They will be available on two wards, known as escalation wards, in Ward 12 at the PRH and Ward 22E at the RSH, where a further eight beds could be used if needed.
Peter Herring, trust chief executive, said: “We’ve experienced a six per cent increase in activity.
“We’re very clear that we need to put back into place some designated escalation capacity for the winter. This is a short-term plan.”
He added that numbers of nurses have been increased, and budget plans have been revised in preparation for opening the extra beds.
Mr Herring said the situation had arisen as almost a quarter of patients were staying in hospital longer.
He said nearly a quarter of SaTH patients had not been discharged within 14 days of admission.
He said the trust was working with other NHS bodies and social care providers to discharge patients in a ‘swift and speedy’ way once they were ready to leave hospital.
Members backed the contingency plan.