VOTE: Worthing Hospital unit would result in fewer beds

PLANS for a £6.3million “emergency floor” at Worthing Hospital are recommended for approval at a board meeting today (Thursday, September 27).

The Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust board, which meets at Worthing Hospital, will hear that the plan for would result in a net loss of 22 beds across the hospital.

The emergency floor, which would provide 67 beds for “joint medical, surgical and ambulatory care”, would replace the outpatients department, which opened in a new location at the hospital earlier this year.

Board papers state the unit would release revenue savings of between £850,000 and £1million per year for the trust.

The savings would be as a result of the reduction of beds, which the trust states can be achieved “as a direct consequence of more appropriate and timely delivery of care and the resulting reduction of average length of stay in hospital”.

The total number of beds after the creation of the unit would go down from 446 to 424 in total, meaning there would be a need for less staff.

However, the papers suggest there are no anticipated redundancies associated with the scheme.

The trust said the reduction in numbers would be achieved through using less bank and agency staff and the “redeployment and natural wastage of permanent staff”.

The emergency floor would be located on the ground floor of the east wing at the hospital, in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing.

If the board agrees to proceed with the proposal, the plan would then need to be approved by the Strategic Health Authority (SHA), as the total expenditure is in excess of the trust’s authorised limit of £3million.

The money would come from a loan of Treasury capital from the SHA, and the project would be carried out by Mansell Construction Services Ltd.

As part of the plan’s full business case, board papers also state: “This investment enables the trust to redesign its acute clinical pathways in line with best practice and supports the trust’s and local health and social care partners’ objectives for improving the effectiveness of service delivery.”

What do you think?

Should the number of hospital beds be maintained? Cast your vote in the poll the right of the screen and leave your comments below.