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Government explanations on bed shortages do not stack up

By | Health | No Comments

Unfortunately the explanations provided by the Government, as to the shortage of beds in the Hospital over the festive period simply do not stack up. Those shortages have meant that some patients who needed to be admitted into hospital have had to wait for up to 12 hours at A & E for a ward bed, while others have not been able to be transferred from Xanit in Spain.

The problems are far more systemic than the Government is admitting.  Statistics provided by in the latest GHA Board Report show that the bed occupancy rates at the Hospital for the last five years ranged between 92% and 111%.  Since June of 2015, monthly bed occupancy rates have ranged between 102% to 111%.  That is well over the UK Department of Health Guidelines that provide that state hospitals should have bed occupancy levels of no higher than 85%.

The clear statistical trend is for average bed occupancy levels to go up not down, regardless of peak demands.  The information we have been provided with indicates that in the last week alone extra beds have been placed in wards and in areas such as the physiotherapy gym to cope with increased demand.

For the Government to say that the delay in opening the Dementia Unit has not contributed substantially to this problem is nonsensical.  On the GHA’s own statistics, in April 2016 dementia and elderly long stay patients took up 48% of beds.  That is nearly half of all beds!  In their latest PR the Government says there are 60 patients receiving long term care at the Hospital “some of whom might otherwise be cared for in the new facility”.  They are careful not to say how many of those 60 could be cared for in the Dementia Unit but it is safe to assume that a large proportion would be.

Daniel Feetham, The Leader of the Opposition, said: “The reality is that despite huge spending by the Government over the last five years, the Dementia Unit has not been prioritised and dementia sufferers have had a litany of broken promise as to when the Unit would open.  That has had a very significant effect on the ability of the GHA to meet bed occupancy targets and the pressure is contributing to low moral on the part of front line staff, who despite these problems have remained very professional throughout”.

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Government lack of priorities the cause of bed shortages

By | Health | No Comments

We have had many complaints over the festive period from patients either at Xanit in Spain waiting for days to be transferred to St Bernard’s Hospital or waiting for hours at the Accident and Emergency because of lack of available beds on hospital wards. The main reason for the lack of beds is that many beds are taken by elderly long term patients and those with dementia, which in April 2016 accounted for 48% of bed occupancy. This could have been avoided if the Government had prioritised the completion of the Dementia Residential Unit. Despite spending £750 million in capital projects over the first four years of its term in office, they did not do so.

Indeed, on 22 September 2015, the then Minister for Health, Mr. Cortes, stated that the 50 bed Residential Unit would be handed over by the contractor by the end of 2015.  When that failed to materialise and pressed by GSD MP Roy Clinton, Minister Cortes issued a communique on 6 June 2016, stating that “we are very close indeed to opening the new unit” only for the Government to disappoint sufferers of dementia and their families when Minister Costa announced in Parliament on 21 December 2016 that the residential unit building would not be handed over by the contractor until April 2017!

GSD Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham said:  “It is appalling that five years after they were elected into Government, St Bernard’s hospital is experiencing these problems with bed shortages caused, in large part, by the Government’s failure to properly prioritise the completion of the Residential Unit.  The lack of beds at St Bernard’s has caused a lot of distress to patients affected and their families. Very often the brunt of the frustrations are being borne by the staff at the hospital”.

“I know that Mr Picardo does not like me reminding him, but the £6 million the Government spent on his very plush offices would have been better spent in the interests of the community completing the Residential Unit.  For a Government that has freely spent so much money over the last five years it should have prioritised this project.  That would have freed very much needed beds at St Bernard’s.”

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Government survey response an insult to doctors

By | Uncategorised | No Comments

The Government continues to rely on smokescreens rather than deal with the concerns of people in the community.  To dismiss as scaremongering the results of a survey in which 31 doctors at the hospital participated in, is an insult to the genuine concerns expressed by those doctors.

The fact that doctors have felt strongly enough to participate and express their views in a survey of this nature is in itself telling.  This is unprecedented and is an expression of significant discontent, which the Government would be foolish to ignore.

The Government seeks to undermine the survey by pointing out that it only sampled the views of 31 out of 81 doctors throughout the GHA.  Only an out of touch Government would make such a point.  The survey was intended to be a survey of doctors practising at St Bernard’s hospital and not the GHA generally.  Even if it were otherwise, a sample of 38% of doctors throughout the GHA is a very large sample indeed.

Rather than undermine the efforts of doctors to bring to the attention of the GHA real concerns with the way the hospital is managed, perhaps the Government should conduct its own staff morale survey either in relation to doctors or medical staff generally.  We would be very surprised if they were not reflective of the survey in which these 31 doctors participated in.

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