Airedale Hospital prepares for rise in demand as winter approaches (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Airedale Hospital prepares for rise in demand as winter approaches
6:00pm Saturday 26th October 2013 in News
Hospital bosses have been debating their winter plan as they brace themselves for a seasonal increase in demand.
Bosses at Airedale General Hospital, near Keighley, say they are anticipating another tough winter ahead.
During a recent sustained busy period at the hospital’s accident and emergency department, patients endured “longer than ideal” waits.
Director of operations Stacey Hunter updated the hospital board of directors on A&E pressures at their latest monthly meeting.
She said the A&E department had been having “good performance” recently, but things had been “tight” for a couple of days at the start of last week.
She said: “We had to open up some extra beds to take some pressure off the system.”
But she said the hospital had since got back on an “even keel”
She emphasised the difficulties had not been caused by the changes under way to develop a new emergency department for the hospital. This work has involved moving the current A&E to a temporary location in the old endoscopy unit.
In her written report to the board, foundation trust chief executive Bridget Fletcher said the hospital’s benchmark standard of treating A&E patients within four hours remained at risk, partly due to the forecasted rise in demand over the winter months. But she was impressed that more than 1,000 staff had been vaccinated against flu and paid tribute to the effective leadership which has made the vaccination programme such a success.
Non executive director Anne Gregory said the hospital’s current winter plan looked solid. But she asked whether it could be reviewed if needed, pointing to warnings that this winter could be particularly harsh.
“It feels sometimes as if we’re the passive recipient of whatever wave is going to hit us next,” she added.
Mrs Hunter said she expected the coming winter would be challenging. However, she and Miss Fletcher said the hospital was capable of measuring the impact of different pressures on its services, so could alter its winter plan accordingly if necessary.
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