The Southern Health Trust has outlined its plans for what it believes will be “a difficult and challenging winter period for local health and social care services.”
At their recent board meeting, senior Trust managers explained that this winter is expected to be particularly challenging for a number of reasons:
• The Southern Trust has the fastest growing population in Northern Ireland
• The number of people attending local emergency departments increases every winter
• The number of patients who need admitted to hospital with complex health issues is increasing every year
• Higher levels of Flu and vomiting and diarrhoea are more likely in winter and increase pressure for hospital beds and impacts on staffing levels
• Recruiting staff is also increasingly challenging and will be an issue over winter.
The presentation also detailed some measures designed to deal with the rising number of patients during winter and to help improve patient flow through the hospitals. They include:
• Promoting the use of the Discharge Lounge, increased consultant ward rounds, appointment of discharging pharmacists
• New Older Persons Assessment Units in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals to avoid hospital admissions
• A new short stay service from Roxborough House, Moy – (in addition to existing service in Newry), avoiding the need for some older patients to stay in hospital
• Working with care homes and domiciliary care services to facilitate timely discharge from hospitals
• Establishing control rooms in Craigavon and Daisy Hill Hospitals – senior hospital and community staff coordinating the flow of patients daily
• A re-direction of ambulances within the Trust when one of its acute hospitals is particularly busy.
For more information log on to www.southerntrust.hscni.net
• Read related story - ‘Help ease pressure on health services’