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Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust announces plan to help manage winter pressures

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community hospitals, started planning for what is likely to be a challenging winter, following record heatwaves at the height of summer.

The winter plan, which was approved by Sherwood Forest Hospitals Board of Directors on Thursday 5 October, 2023, sets out a range of measures aimed at ensuring there is sufficient capacity to meet winter demands; with patients more likely to be admitted only if it is essential and also helping to reduce the length of time they need to stay in hospital.

The majority of the funding will provide at the peak 44 extra beds for adults and children, rising to 60 at weekends, between October and March. Nurses, doctors, therapists, pharmacists and administration staff will be employed to support these extra beds. The funding will also be used to provide:

  • A Children’s Assessment Unit from November, providing extended opening hours (10am to 10pm) seven days a week – giving children and their parents better access to urgent and emergency care when they need it.
  • A Frailty Rapid Access clinic to ensure frail patients are seen in a purpose designed way quickly – helping to prevent deterioration which can often result in hospital admission
  • Doubling the number of Respiratory Physicians at weekends – helping patients with seasonal conditions get faster treatment and shorter stays in hospital.
  • Weekend MRI scan reporting which can often cause delays to patients going home.

Winter is traditionally a challenging time across the NHS with increased pressures from seasonal illnesses such as respiratory infections, Covid and Flu. Icy weather can lead to more slips with an increased number of people visiting Accident and Emergency (A&E) with suspected breaks and sprains. In addition, this year there is expected to be the added challenge of continued industrial action.

Delays (outside of the hospital’s direct control) in discharging medically fit patients once they are ready to go home mean that seriously sick patients sometimes have to wait for a bed longer than they or hospital staff would like for one to become available.

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Rachel Eddie, Chief Operating Officer at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said:

“We want our patients to have confidence that we can provide the care they need. Keeping patients safe and the quality of the care we provide is our priority.”

“We know that winter can be a busier time than usual for our hardworking staff, but by planning earlier, we can reducethe impact and ensure a more positive experience and better outcome for our patients.”

Dr David Selwyn, Medical Director of Sherwood Forest Hospitals, added:

“Our ask is that you help us care for you by taking care of yourself. We want you to plan to stay well this winter.”

“Keep medicines supplies updated and, if you are eligible, please take up the offer of Covid and Flu vaccinations. Details of the national campaign can be found here.”

“There are many services that can provide you with help on the day you need it. You can get this help through your GP team, a pharmacy, NHS 111 online or by calling NHS 111 to get advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. But remember if it is a life-threatening emergency please phone 999 immediately or go to A&E.”

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