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Saturday, April 13, 2024
HomeHealthNew £20M Northwick Park Hospital ward will address bed shortage, easing patients...

New £20M Northwick Park Hospital ward will address bed shortage, easing patients placed in corridors

Northwick Park Hospital is set to build a new £20 million ward to meet the growing demand for acute care beds, with some patients already having to be placed in corridors to free up space.

The hospital has been awarded the funding for the 32-bed ward following a successful bid to NHS England.

Northwick Park, located off Watford Road in the London borough of Brent, closely bordering Harrow, is a major service provider. Last month it urged people not to go to A&E unless it was absolutely necessary after seeing a record number of attendances in one week, with 700 people treated on one day alone.

In February of this year, London North West University Health Care NHS Trust bid for money to increase general and acute beds at the hospital by winter 2024, in anticipation of a predicted rise in demand for beds.

Northwick Park currently has a total of 500 beds. It is expected that increasing the capacity by 32 will help reduce the number of patients waiting in the emergency department for a bed, improve ambulance handover times, and allow additional capacity to manage seasonal demands.

At the moment the hospital has no spare capacity. Everyday up to nine patients are being placed in corridors by ambulance staff, with some acute patients having to stay there overnight to create more capacity in order to relieve front door pressure and release ambulances. Patients are currently being placed in corridors from 7am to 6pm on all but two wards.

Preparation work for the new ward has already begun as the time frame is extremely short to build the new capacity and recruit the additional staff needed. The assumption that demand will continue to grow ahead of next winter is based on emergency admissions and hospital arrival figures over the past three years.

Northwick Park Hospital has the highest number of ‘type 3’ – minor injuries and illnesses – and the third highest total emergency admissions nationally, according to figures from the trust. It is also the single busiest site in London for ambulance arrivals, with an increase of 11.5 per cent since 2019/20.

According to a trust report, the beds will address the extra pressures at peak times of the day – first thing in the morning and early evening – which are linked to ambulance shift changes and reduce the risk of increased morbidity and mortality associated with prolonged stay in the emergency department.

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