13 January 2006

Good News For Altnagelvin

Derry Journal

By Catherine Spence
Friday 13th January 2006

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An exciting new development at Altnagelvin Hospital is to result in the allocation of an Acute Medical Services Centre, which will be up and running by April. The move comes following an noted increase in emergency situations at the hospital and, in the past year, incidences of longer trolley waits for patients in Accident and Emergency.

The Centre will be situated in the current Ward 43 and also aims to facilitate better rehabilitation and radically change the way in which patients are treated. The announcement was made at a Liaison Meeting between the Altnagelvin Health and Social Services Trust and the Western Health and Social Services Council, where the panel revealed that the decision was taken after looking closely at how things are done in Liverpool. A member of the Altnagelvin Trust explained: "The Trust looked extensively at a similar situation in Liverpool which was alleviated at the result of implementing an Acute Medical Services Centre. The in-patient bed flow was better, patients experienced shorter bed stays and a clinical through-put team were able to manage beds and effectively unblock the blocks.

"We are now in the process of developing a protocol for our own clinical through-put team, and work is to start immediately on the ward, with an estimated finish date of April." It was also noted that the system will only work with a good community structure in place, allowing patients to rehabilitate at home following a more stream-lined and efficient stay at Altnagelvin.

SDLP Councillor Seana Hume, who is also a member of the Western Health and Social Services Council, welcomed the move: "The plans for an Acute Services Centre in Altnagelvin are to welcomed and the Trust are to be commended on their move to learn from other hospitals in England." However, there was bad news for the co-located GP Out-of-Hours scheme which is now to start in approximately two and a half years time, taking a year to complete. Full reports on the Liason Meeting will be in Sunday's Journal.

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