Warning given over Horton therapy gym move

The Horton General Hospital
The Horton General Hospital

Relocation of the Horton’s inpatient gym to a smaller space will lead to bed blocking and ‘inappropriate discharge’ of patients.

This is the claim of expert sources after Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) announced it was moving a new hospital-at-home ‘hub’ into the current Rowan gym.

The gym facility, which helps rehabilitate patients before they go home, will move into an Oak Ward day room.

The OUH says the Rowan gym has been under-used, but the BG’s sources say the new area is half the size and can only take a third of the number of patients at any time.

They also fear as it would be shared by a kitchen for dialysis patients’ catering, there would be a contamination risk.

“This is a contamination risk and loss of dignity to patients. These people are at the lowest point of their lives and will have to share this space with kitchen staff. It is just another thing administrators don’t think about.

“The kitchen area makes the space even smaller than it already is. It just doesn’t fit the practicalities required to provide a service to four major inpatient wards (Laburnum 28 beds, Juniper 30 beds, short stay unit 16 beds, emergency assessment unit 18 beds) and A&E,” they said.

“It just will not work for the patient caseload the Horton has had and will have.”

“The OUH has tried in the past to direct people to certain hospitals with certain conditions – for example moving stroke to the JR. The JR is over flowing with patients and staff shortages don’t help.

“It means patients who arrive at the Horton will stay at the Horton for treatment, which has been the case ever since the decision to change services around.

“The size of this proposed gym is just a visual representation of another nail in the inpatient therapy team coffin.

“It will ultimately lead to bed blocking and inappropriate discharges of patients.”

The sources say it would be much better for the ‘hub’, which they say is a collection of ‘hot-desks’ where staff working out in the community may do admin, to move to the Oak day room. They complain staff were only given a week’s notice and say the cost of the conversions is a waste.

They also fear patients will lose valuable therapy while refurbishment takes place: “Therapists are the ones who make sure patients are physically safe to go home.”

A spokesman for OUH said the new gym space had been used for six beds which was adequate space for equipment, patients and staff – and added that the new arrangements posed a risk to no one.

The hub will bring together clinicians and administrative staff all week working into the evening in an area that will be occupied much of the time.

Staff were told nearly a month ago and service managers had been involved from the start of the proposals. Patient therapies to ensure a safe return home will not be compromised, the spokesman added.

Terry Cordrey, head of therapy services said: “This is good news for patients and good news for the Horton. We are expanding the services to support (patients) getting home quickly. It also makes best use of the space available without losing space for the important rehabilitation work that needs to take place in a gym. There is bound to be a small amount of disruption but the plan is to as far as possible provide the gym on Oak Ward before refurbishing the Rowan Gym area.”

The trust hopes the work will be done by the end of the year.