Reports that hospital bosses in Oxford plan to end the current round the clock care in E-Ward – the men’s and women’s surgical ward at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital - have been denied.
The Oxford University Hospitals FT Trust said today the ward is not to be closed. It says its use will change as part of its plans to end ‘bed blocking’ – where elderly patients become stranded in expensive hospital beds because care packages are not available.
The Banbury Guardian was told last night that staff have been told E-Ward - as it has been used -would be closing. A number of staff believed this to be the case after briefing and were said to be upset.
“Emotions are running very high,” a source told the paper.
E-Ward has, for some years, been a surgical ward where patients needing overnight care after operations have stayed under consultant supervision. Ward care is given by trained surgical nurses. Patients stay in women’s or men’s bays of six beds.
There is also a number of side rooms and a few beds for gynaecological cases needing overnight care. These were negotiated when the gynaecology ward was closed amid concern that women should still have access to beds with specialist nursing after day surgery or in emergencies.
The hospital source said: “All general surgery patients including emergency patients were/are treated on the ward staffed by surgical nurses. Several years ago day-case moved into part of the ward and the day case unit became the current endoscopy area.
“When emergency surgery was transferred to Oxford this left planned general surgery on E-Ward with beds for gynaecology patients if needed. The ward is also used for any unwell day case patients who have had operations and are not well enough to be released the same day.”
“If the ward use is changed from its current configuration, planned surgery is compromised. Where would patients not fit enough to go home from day surgery be admitted? I can only imagine they would have to be transferred to Oxford.”
Susan Brown, spokesman for the OUHT said: “The NHS is commissioning 30 intermediate care beds in nursing homes in north Oxfordshire (from 0 previously).
“The freeing up of beds at the Horton as patients are moved to more appropriate care will allow us to perform more day-case surgery at the Horton, treating an additional 30-40 patients a week from early new year. We will do this by opening up 12 additional day-case beds on E-Ward.
“In addition, we will have an additional capacity for 12 medical patients on other wards at the Horton (for) patients we always tend to see in winter, rather than having to transfer patients to the John Radcliffe.
“The transfer plan will need to be evaluated before further decisions are taken. If it is decided to reconfigure facilities on a permanent basis this would be subject to a public consultation.
“With a movement of a large number of patients at one time, there will be an opportunity to move staff to provide the services that we are commissioned to provide. There will be no redundancies.”