Warning over levels of community care

DISTRICT nurses and community care must not be left to struggle with the amount of patients being more quickly discharged from hospital a doctor has warned.

DISTRICT nurses and community care must not be left to struggle with the amount of patients being more quickly discharged from hospital a doctor has warned.

Dr Don McElhinney , told a meeting of Ipswich Primary Care Trust that more community staff must be in place before Ipswich Hospital starts to carry out more day surgery and discharge patients quicker.

Speaking as chairman of the professional executive committee, Dr McElhinney said that concerns had been expressed that the problem of too many patients stuck in hospital would simply be shifted into the community.

His comments came during a discussion regarding the new £24million development planned for Ipswich Hospital.

The planned treatment and critical care centre will see more day operations carried out.

Although more beds are going to be added, it is hoped people will spend less time in the hospital and more recovery care will be carried out in the community.

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This will mean more beds available for acutely ill patients and fewer operations being cancelled, but Dr McElhinney said the PCT must have more district nurses on hand to cope with the amount of patients.

He said: "My nursing colleagues are concerned about the work load on community care.

"District nurses will pick up the work load of patients being rapidly discharged.

"We have to ensure there are proper resources out there to manage these people."

Dr McElhinney also said it was recognised that the hospital needed to make the changes.

He said: "Ipswich Hospital needs to be geared up for the future and we all strongly support that move."

Dr Brian Keeble, director of public health also stated that the PCT must take steps towards preventing illnesses and stopping people going into hospital in the first place.

He said: "We have to improve chronic diseases such as vascular disease which causes stroke and heart disease and fills up hospitals.

"We also have to prevent people getting worse – it is a huge challenge for us to really properly manage people with chronic diseases."

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