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Press release – July 12 2019
Wye Valley NHS Trust’s hugely successful Annual General Meeting held last night (Thurs, July 11) was capped with the news the Trust has been waiting for – money has been allocated to replace the aging hutted wards at the County Hospital site.
Vast improvements in waiting times for patients, measurably safer care and improved CQC inspection ratings were all highlighted at last night’s meeting held in Hereford Shirehall.
The mood of celebration continued when the Chief Executive, Glen Burley, broke the news describing it as a “momentous occasion” for the hospital.
“It’s taken us a long time to get to this point but it means we will no longer have to provide 21st-century care in hutted wards built nearly a century ago,” said Glen.
“The new wards will significantly improve patient experience, including privacy and dignity, and will provide modern patient ward facilities fit for the future.”
The suite of Canadian hutted wards on the hospital site was built in the 1940s and used extensively during World War II. While two are still in use as wards, four huts which had been used as offices, were demolished at the end of last year to make way for the new building.
The Trust secured planning permission for the three-storey building earlier this year and is now finalising a detailed business case which will go to NHS Improvement (NHSI) for ratification.
“I’d like to thank NHSI for the support they have given us and their decision to allocate money for our new wards,” added Glen.
“It’s essential we get value from every pound we spend and we appreciate the rigour and thoroughness they have given to our business plans which spell out the rationale for the new building.”
The new £23.6 million wards will provide 72 beds – an extra 34 over and above the capacity provided in the two hutted wards still in use for inpatients at Hereford County Hospital.
The extra beds are in addition to 24 new beds in the new Acute Medical Unit which was built in the autumn last year and opened its doors to patients just days before Christmas.
“This announcement means we can progress with the largest investment to increase bed capacity on the hospital site since it opened in 2002,” said Jane Ives, the Trust’s Managing Director.
“These are exciting times at the Trust with a raft of improvements in many areas. But with the continuing increase in demand it’s essential that while we are doing all we can to improve our efficiency and the quality of care we provide, we also increase our capacity to enable us to cope with more patients.”
While the Trust has invested heavily in caring for more people in their homes (there has been an eight per cent increase in patients cared for at home during the last 12 months), there has been a ten per cent increase in the number of patients attending the Emergency Department – a total 60,560 attended last year (20018/19).
The Trust has also seen a 14.2 per cent increase in the number of patients it admitted to hospital last year (an extra 7,089).
“The great news is that despite these challenges, we’ve reduced the number of patients waiting more than 52 weeks from 137 to 0 during the last 12 months and overall we’ve seen an increase of six per cent in productivity and we’ve saved £10 million.
“The extra beds will give us the capacity we need to care for our patients in an environment which reflects the high quality of care we provide.
“This is great news for the Trust, for our staff but most importantly for our patients,” added Jane.
Note to Editors:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider of health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £185 million, we employ around 3,000 staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.
For further information please contact:
Fiona Gurney, communications officer, or John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928