A SHORTAGE of beds at Warwick Hospital has led to patients temporarily being cared for elsewhere.
Several patients from the Lakin Road Hospital – which recently suffered an outbreak of winter vomiting bug norovirus – have been taken to Ellen Badger Hospital rehabilitation hospital in Shipston, where six extra beds have been made available.
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) bosses – which runs Warwick, Leamington, Ellen Badger and Stratford hospitals – say an unprecedented rise in the number of elderly patients needing more care is the reason why all 486 beds at Warwick are full.
SWFT chief executive Glen Burley has revealed plans to put additional temporary beds at Leamington Hospital to cope with demand.
He said: “Our pressure is at its highest level for ten years. As a result we are increasing our bed capacity where we can on a temporary basis to reduce the volume of patients waiting in A&E.
“In the case of Ellen Badger Hospital we are increasing their bed capacity to the level we had before by reopening a previously clinical area.
“We have considered declaring a major incident but have decided at this stage it would not bring any additional help to ease the pressure on the hospital as all surrounding acute hospitals are in a similar position to us.
“We are also liasing with our partners including social care to work together and respond to the increase in demand, however the situation remains under review.
“Our staff are working extremely hard during this difficult time where we are seeing unprecedented demand for services.”
Ellen Badger has an 18-bed rehabilitation ward and aims to help patients return to the community.
But Shipston district councillor Jeff Kenner has voiced his concerns the extra beds would place more pressure on the hospital’s services.
He told the Observer: “Ellen Badger has beds mainly for elderly patients who need constant care. It also has a Minor Injuries Unit and a range of other services which are going to be under additional pressure as a result.
“I do not blame the Trust for having to take crisis measures – there is a superb team at the hospital who will do everything they can to ensure all the patients receive the care they need.
“The fault lies with the Government which has cut social care, cut nurse training and thrown the NHS into chaos through its costly re-organisation.”