MORE doctors, more nurses and more beds are on the way to Oxford.
Oxfordshire has been handed £10.2m funding – the second highest amount in the country – to tackle winter pressures this year, including bed blocking and A&E waiting times.
The county dropped to the worst place in England for bed-blocking in July and almost a quarter of patients waited more than four hours in Oxfordshire’s emergency departments in April.
On Friday, the Oxford Mail revealed that health bosses admitted hanging their “heads in shame” over the issue as it revealed it had bid for the cash.
The money, announced yesterday, will be spent on opening 65 ward beds and 12 community hospital beds, employing 27 community nurses, 12 social workers and 12 occupational therapists, and operating and staffing another ambulance for weekend support.
It will go to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUHT) and will be dished out to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) South Central Ambulance Service, Oxford Health and Oxfordshire County Council.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “The fact that it’s the second highest award in the country shows the acute pressure Oxford is under.
“This is not a lasting solution to the problems of delayed discharge, but I hope it opens up a window of opportunity for these to be sorted out.”
Only Barts Health NHS Trust in London, with £12.8m, received more money than Oxfordshire – out of a total of 53 receiving £250m this year.
Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, chairman of Oxfordshire watchdog Patient Voice, said: “Let’s hope the public see an improvement very quickly.”
Asked if she thought the cash would stop bed-blocking and A&E waiting times, she said: “No. But it is a start.”
OCCG director of commissioning and partnerships Lorraine Foley said the money would allow a “much better level of care” this winter and allow new ideas to be trialled, including GPs assessing patients at A&E entrances.
The total cash £10,207,000 is part of a £500m pot over two years, but the Department of Health said if hospitals want more money next year they must vaccinate 75 per cent of staff against the flu or show “robust” plans are in place to meet the target.
Currently, only 58 per cent of OUHT staff are vaccinated.
Paul Brennan, director of clinical services at OUHT said: “We have robust processes in place to encourage all staff to have flu vaccinations and we will be launching a new campaign at the end of this month.”
The Department of Health said OUHT would get the £10.2m “very soon”.
How the money will be spent.
THE £10,207,000 will buy:
12 community hospital escalation beds for five months.
27 community nurses for end of life care, post-acute care at home and flu vaccinations.
One ambulance and staff for weekend support.
Three geriatricians (doctors) in A&E.
Consultant physician to cover medical assessments in A&E.
5.5 paediatric emergency nurse practitioners in A&E.
65 beds on wards.
12 occupational therapists.
12 social workers.
Additional discharge support co-ordinators.
Equipment including bed rails, toilet seats, hoists, chairs, walking frames and minor adaptations to the peoples’ homes.