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Half of hospital patients fit enough for community care

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

Gellinudd Hospital

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A SNAP survey of Neath and Port Talbot's hospitals found that half of their patients did not need to be there.

Out of the 129 patients taking up beds at the time the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board survey was carried out, 67 were classed as fit enough to be cared for in the community.

Although this figure related to a single day, health chiefs say it is representative of the everyday reality.

ABMU is proposing to close one of the hospitals in the Neath Port Talbot locality — Gellinudd in Pontardawe — and use the resources this will free up to enhance community-based care.

At the moment the closure is only being discussed as a possibility as part of ABMU's Changing for the Better (C4B) programme.

It will be raised at a drop-in event hosted by ABMU at Pontardawe Arts Centre next Friday and subsequent events in the Neath Port Talbot area between now and late December.

Only when the engagement process ends will the health board come up with definite proposals.

A report presented to ABM Community Health Council's Neath Port Talbot committee outlined changes in the way frail and elderly people are cared for.

Hospitals are now seen as a last, rather than first, resort with the emphasis now on an enhanced Community Resource Service (CRS) model.

The idea is that people only stay in hospital when they need acute care. Once they are well enough to leave they are supported to live as independently as possible, either in their own home or some other community setting such as a nursing home.

"Discussions with Neath Port Talbot Council social services have confirmed a strong commitment to further developing capacity within the community resource services for the population of Neath Port Talbot," the report states.

The 67 "medically fit" patients in the county's hospitals could, it said, could either go home with support, or to an alternative such as a nursing home.

CHC member and former Neath Port Talbot councillor Clive Owen said public perception was important, as some people would see the loss of Gellinudd as a cutback.

"We are here as a watchdog," he said. "Are our patients going to be better off this way?

"I think they are, but it has to be workable. I know social services and I know there is a clash between the two cultures of nursing and social services.

"As long as we get over that it will work, but I do worry about it. We are here to make sure the patient gets the best deal."

ABMU planning director Paul Stauber said the two organisations had worked so closely together there had been a "blurring of the boundaries".

It is a similar situation across Carmarthenshire.

Director of planning, performance and delivery at Hywel Dda Health Board Tony Chambers said: "Our evidence shows that up to 40 per cent of patients in our hospital beds would not need to be there if the right services and support was in available in the community. We want to develop our primary and community care services to reduce inappropriate use of hospital beds and prevent this from happening, increasingly providing care within the community and in some instances, within a patient's own home."

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 11 2012, 9:03PM

    Getting people out of hospital as soon as possible should be the aim of every hospital. And BTW welcome back Dai Chotomy, just hope u are not going to turn into the spelling bee again.

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  • sochat  |  November 11 2012, 8:30PM

    antyall Are you thick,havn"t you noticed that the health service in Wales is administered and financed by the Welsh Assembly Government.

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  • torquemada  |  November 11 2012, 6:49PM

    Close them ALL down (thats what the Health Board wants to do anyway) and get them into proper jobs or enforce compulsory euthanasia for those not willing to look for work. They are a drain on the welfare system and the country simply cannot afford to pay to look after these allegedly "ill" people so the sooner they are dealt with the better be pure be vigilant, behave

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  • antyall  |  November 11 2012, 4:21PM

    And of coarse in all their wisdom the very hospital designed just for this reason are being closed as "there is no need for them" people dont want to be kept in hospital,people want to be at home but this government have starved the health service to death and allowed the private sector to take over. It is ironic that America is under Obama trying to get a health service for all and we are creating a service that nye Bevan overturned, "The Tories are lower than vermin" and the Lib Dems even lower for allowing this.

  • abertawejack  |  November 11 2012, 11:32AM

    Ever since we got rid of Matrons/convalescence homes, The NHS has moved backwards and still in decline:

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  • avondale  |  November 11 2012, 1:36AM

    We need hospitals but we need to change how we use them-manage chronic conditions in the home and less beds will be blocked.

  • siarad2  |  November 10 2012, 2:07PM

    Yes these sick people are a real pain, consuming resources better used building an amazing edifice for managers to luxuriate in while passing e-mail around ail day & calculating expenses.

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