Pressures build on Horton trust as demand rises

A&E attendances and emergency admissions are up at the Horton and JR, Oxford
A&E attendances and emergency admissions are up at the Horton and JR, Oxford

Pressures are building on the Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) as demands for acute care rise while funding is squeezed.

A report being presented to tomorrow’s (Friday) Community Partnership Network on the latest situation at the Horton and John Radcliffe hospitals shows emergency admissions were up nearly eight per cent in 2016 - 17.

The number of admissions in both hospitals totalled 76,684. A&E attendances rose by 3.85 per cent to 149,995.

The report,being presented by Andrew Stevens, head of planning at OUHT, says the trust had delivered more activity than planned but had lost £4.65m in revenue because of a ‘block contract’ with Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

He says the number of delayed discharges of care has remained high this year in spite of measures taken to deal with the costly problem.

This category is sometimes referred to as bed blocking and refers to patients who are well enough to leave acute care beds but are stranded in hospital because there is not money for social care packages to be provided.

Mr Stevens’ paper says: “To help to manage the number of delayed transfers of care patients, the trust has invested £8.7m in liaison, ambulatory and out-of-hospital services... £4.8 more than planned.”

He reports a shortfall in ‘the trust level of productivity and savings’ of £13.6m.

The trust has imposed pay restrictions and cost control measures in non-clinical areas - without causing any adverse effect on patient safety or quality of care. NHS England has ordered Oxfordshire to cut £200m by 2020-21 and Horton services are threatened.

Keep the Horton General chairman Keith Strangwood said: “This increased activity shows the Horton is needed more than ever. Demand is going up, not down. Its services must be retained and protected.”