Barnsley Hospital prepares for tough winter with £1.5m plan

Bosses at Barnsley Hospital have drawn up a £1.5m plan to cope with winter pressures on the service.
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Respiratory infections, Covid, flu and a potential measles outbreak are expected to contribute to more people needing hospital care on top of normal demand.

A report to the trust says this year’s plans need to include preparations for a flu and Covid surge, with further respiratory illnesses in January and February. Extra beds will be part of measures carried out by bosses,

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“This winter there may be an increase in paediatric respiratory admissions and the risk of a measles outbreak.

Hospital stock imageHospital stock image
Hospital stock image

“Factors to take into consideration include the potential for a further wave of Covid-19 admissions, an influenza epidemic, and ongoing increases in frailty and patient acuity as seen over the past year.

“Bed occupancy has risen to 97.9 per cent, the bed reconfiguration programme is working to increase inpatient bed capacity.

“There will be an additional 38 beds from October 2023, supplemented with 24 winter escalation beds from Dec 2023.

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“The current plan is aimed at providing as much bedded capacity as possible to enable elective work.

“The overall objective is to have sufficient medical/surgical beds and not exceed 100 per cent occupancy at the peak point of winter, usually early January, enabling patients to be allocated the right bed within two hours of request.

“Staffing plans are in progress across all areas and include supporting services alongside core medical and nursing.”

The report adds that there has been a ‘lack of capacity’ to support discharges into care homes, as well as a ‘lack of mental health capacity across South Yorkshire,’ which means there is an ‘ongoing risk of increased winter bed requirements if there is any market failure or service suspensions’.

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Nationally, the NHS is facing the possibility of higher than usual levels of respiratory illness including Covid, flu and RSV. Australia, whose activity often predicts what the NHS in England is likely to see in winter, experienced one of the biggest flu seasons on record this year with children particularly affected, making up four in five of flu-related hospital admissions.