People who need one of our beds won’t have to travel as far in future as part of a trial on our wards.
The aim is to match the demand for beds and better meet patient preference.
Evidence collated from our admissions data shows that 50 patients a year, on average, were being cared for in our Shrewsbury wards when they actually lived nearer the beds in Telford.
Our response is a year-long trial to assess whether a redistribution of the current bed capacity will make life easier for patients and families.
The trial will maintain the same level of ward service for patients across the region, including those in Mid Wales, and continue to provide the same overall number of beds – 23.
Telford would increase capacity from seven to 11 beds and Shrewsbury would have 12 beds instead of the current 16.
A refurbishment project at Alexandra ward two years ago had included a ‘future-proofing’ element, in expectation of population growth – and therefore potential increase in demand for our ward services. Offices had equipment and connections built in so they could easily be converted into patient rooms. It is these spaces that will now be used.
Hospice Chief Executive Heather Tudor said: “Patients are our first priority and we will be able to offer exactly the same number of beds as now. We are testing something which we think will be better for more people and does not disadvantage or reduce service for anyone.
“The evidence is showing us there is more demand than capacity on our Telford ward, and that our Shrewsbury beds are under less pressure; indeed, we have often had to use the spare capacity in Shrewsbury to absorb the demand on Telford and this is the issue we are addressing now.”
A reduction in capacity at Telford last year, prompted by a cut in funding from the local clinical commissioning group had not caused the problem but it had compounded it, she added.
One-third of the hospice’s funding comes via these NHS bodies and is aimed at supporting the respective communities of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
“We see ourselves as one organisation providing specialist palliative and end-of-life care services to a single population across our patch of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales, so reconfiguring our beds resource like this makes a lot of sense,” said Heather.
“Our beds are for patients with the most complex of needs who cannot be cared for at home so we want to make sure we make it as easy as possible for them and their families to be in the place that’s most convenient for them irrespective of the funding source,” she added.