80 extra beds to tackle rise in patients

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The boss of Doncaster Royal Infirmary is giving up his office as part of a £7 million plan to boost the number of beds.

Chief executive Mike Pinkerton’s office accommodation on the ground floor of the Armthorpe Road hospital has been earmarked as part of a new ward to cope with the increasing number of emergency patients who need to be admitted.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has pledged to increase capacity at its three hospitals by 80 beds by this autumn and they are also recruiting additional nurses.

The move, which has been agreed with local clinical commissioners, will see 51 extra beds created on existing wards at DRI and Bassetlaw - by keeping open beds that would usually close during the quieter summer months, and by converting space that is currently used as offices into single en-suite patient rooms.

A further 19 beds will be created at the DRI by converting the Trust’s management offices into a new ward.

Because they are situated directly below the main patient wards in the East Ward block, converting them into a new ward sits well with the nursing and medical teams.

And it means that by this winter the Chief Executive’s office will be occupied by a patient.

“It really is the most sensible area to create an additional ward,” said Mr Pinkerton.

“There has been a noticeable rise in the number of seriously unwell patients who need hospital care.

“The majority are frail older people, often with long-term conditions like heart or lung disease. This has had knock-on consequences nationally, with bed capacity close to 100 per cent in many hospitals.

“Doncaster and Bassetlaw is no exception and we’re determined to take action, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is and investing £7m in creating additional bed capacity with extra nursing staff.

“Hospitals don’t work in isolation, though. We’re part of the wider network of care and are working closely with GP commissioners, community health and social care on ways for local people to access support outside hospital, as well as in it.”

Work to convert the offices begins in late June and the executive team will be relocated in other areas of the DRI site.

The Trust is investing £3 million from its capital programme for 2013/14 for the estates work needed to create the additional beds. The remaining £4m investment will fund extra nurses and the additional revenue costs associated with 80 more beds.

It is coming from efficiency savings the Trust has made in non-clinical areas, as well as cash reserves. Local GP commissioners have also provided support.

Recruitment of additional nurses across the Trust’s hospitals began in March and will continue on a rolling basis to ensure that staff are in post and ready as the additional beds are created.

The trust has had a good response from qualified staff and students qualifying this year and are appointing those of a high standard.