Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Councillors approve plans to move some services from QMC to City Hospital

Changes which could affect more than 1,000 Nottingham hospital patients a year have moved a step closer after they were endorsed by local health officials.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) plans to move the colorectal and hepatobiliary service from the Queen’s Medical Centre to City Hospital this autumn.

The plans were discussed at Nottinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee on July 26.

The colorectal service treats disorders of the rectum, anus, and colon. Hepatobiliary relates to problems with the liver, bile ducts, and gallbladder.

The proposed move would affect around 1,000 patients a year – but some councillors questioned whether there would be extra parking available at City Hospital to meet the extra demand.

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It comes as NUH has secured £15 million of NHS funding to increase elective surgery at its City Hospital site through extra theatres and ward beds.

The current elective service is co-located with emergency theatre provision, leading to “cancellations and longer waits for elective patients”.

NUH now wishes to “proceed at pace” to relocate the services by October 2022.

Ayan Banerjea, Divisional Director for Surgery at NUH, said half the staff will move to the City Hospital and half will stay at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

He added there is a “huge recruitment drive” going on to find extra staff for the new units.

He told councillors: “The current situation is that these two services have struggled to deliver the type of planned care that they would like to. In being based at the Queen’s Medical Centre, you are always at the mercy of what the emergency pathway brings you.

“As such, there are often delays and more worryingly there are occasions when we simply cannot go ahead with a planned operation because we either don’t have a ward bed or a critical care bed.

“Our elective patients will normally be nursed alongside emergency patients, and that’s not the greatest environment because it is busy.

“We would hope to see a shorter length of stay after surgery, better patient experience and avoid the scheduling churn every time you have to tell someone that they can’t go ahead on the day you planned to.”

Councillors had the chance to give feedback on the plans during the meeting.

Councillor Mike Adams (Con) asked: “If we’re relocating potentially a thousand patients to the city sites, where are we going to put their visitors when they get there? Are you creating new capacity for parking?”

Lucy Dadge, Director of Integration at the Integrated Care Board said: “There will no doubt be a period of time where we are rebalancing our services but what I would say is this is additional capacity for an area where there is growing demand.

“It is down to us to make that balance work.”

Councillor Michelle Welsh (Lab) added: “I don’t have anything against what is in this document, my worry just lies with the people of Nottinghamshire and where they are with regards to accessing this treatment.

“My overall question is how much do you actually expect this to improve and is there something else that can ultimately be done to get to where we need?”

Ms Dadge responded: “I absolutely agree with you and this winter is already looking very trying.

“This is a really positive development with investment in new facilities.”

Some concerns were also raised about the lack of a full public consultation on the plans.

But the ICB said it would instead work directly with service users as well as carrying out a survey, focus groups and working with GP surgeries on the plans.

Councilor John Wilmott (Ind) said: “I have concerns about the lack of a full, public consultation.

“The target dates for these improvements is October with just public engagement.  How long would a full public consultation take and for how long would it delay plans? What is the difference with public engagement and a consultation?”

They said a public consultation would take between six and nine months, and added that targeted public engagement will get direct feedback from relevant patients.

Councillors unanimously approved the plans going ahead.

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