[M]ore people in north Cumbria are now receiving their healthcare in the community as plans to implement the Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) become a reality.
System leaders across north Cumbria agreed today at their inaugural meeting that sufficient resource was in place in the community to allow the community hospital beds at Wigton and Maryport to close in line with the decisions to consolidate community hospital beds onto six sites following public consultation in 2016.
Over 90 new posts have been filled in the ICCs to create rapid response teams and coordination hubs. Community hubs are up and running in all eight ICCs in north Cumbria five days a week, which will increase to 8am – 8pm seven days a week later this year.
This service is offering enhanced therapy and clinical services and is already reducing the number of people that need to stay in the acute hospital, just one example being a patient who was on an acute ward for a number of weeks and needed to remain there for over a month to receive treatment that had not previously been administered in the community.
Staff from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) worked together with the positive result that the patient could return home and visited a community hospital daily for the treatment.
In Maryport, beds will close during September and an extended community service will be delivered by the same staff in people’s own homes, and in the hospital as day patients.
In Wigton, beds will close at the start of October and as well as an extended community service, six residential care beds will be available at Inglewood residential care home. Community nursing and therapy staff will be able to provide support to the people using those beds.
Refurbishment works for the rooms which will house these beds will be undertaken to improve the environment and ensure it meets the needs of the patients. These works expect to start in October 2018 and to be complete by March 2019 and in the meantime partners have agreed that six beds from the care homes within Wigton and Solway will be available as healthcare beds if and when needed.
Work is planned and underway in order to increase the bed base at other community hospitals in line with the consultation decision:
- Refurbishment work has already been completed at Workington and two additional beds will be available from October.
- Refurbishment work in Keswick will start in November 2018 for completion in spring 2019.
- Refurbishment work in Brampton will start in spring 2019 and is scheduled for completion in summer 2019.
- Plans for Penrith and Cockermouth will be developed in phase 2 of the community hospital redevelopment.
They expect the refurbishments will be funded through the £2 million national capital allocation and from the generous contribution of the hospitals’ League of Friends.
Professor John Howarth, Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have placed significant additional resources into our community teams and local residential care beds to help prepare for these community hospital bed changes. We are very grateful to our staff, many of whom have been personally impacted in terms of changes to their hours, roles or bases but who have helped us design our community based models of care.
“We are also grateful to our partners and local communities, in particular the hospital League of Friends who will be providing financial support to refurbishment work. I recognise that these changes have been controversial and I would like to formally thank the community groups who have worked with us to try and get the best alternative model to overnight beds. With our strengthened community nurse and therapy teams we aim to deliver a lot more care in our local communities.”