Nurse hits out over wards closure
A RETIRED top nurse has criticised plans to close a ward for patients nearing the end of their lives.
Derek McCarthy, from Hayling Island, has accused the trust of masking the true motives for closing the ward.
As previously reported in The Islander, G5 ward, which provides palliative care to people over 65 at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, is set to close this month.
The staff will instead form a palliative care team to work throughout the hospital and train other staff to also provide end of life care. Meanwhile patients will be cared for on normal wards.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, has said the reason for doing this is because only 25 per cent of patients over 65 needing palliative care get access to G5, and the new model of care will reach all patients.
Mr McCarthy, 75, of Hamfield Drive, was the director of nursing services at St James' Hospital, in Portsmouth, the acting chief nurse for South East Hampshire, and worked for the national health advisory service and care quality commission.
He said: "Closures of wards such as G5 for financial reasons can easily be disguised as being made to improve overall patient care.
"But patients will not get the same level of care on acute wards as they do on G5. The staff on acute wards are stretched enough. This is about money saving."
But Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has said that while closing G5 and replacing it with the new model of care will save money, it is primarily about improving the patient experience.
Chris Ash, general manager of the department of medicine for older people, said: "The main reason we are doing this is because no matter how great a service G5 is, only 25 per cent of the patients who could benefit from it are getting access to the ward. The new model of care will mean all patients will get the care."
He added: "We will have better value for money but the primary reason for doing this is to improve the service and get to that 75 per cent of people who do not have access to G5."
Mr Ash also said the hospital trust was to invest 165,000 from savings from G5 into the new service.
Last year the Islander featured a book written by Mr McCarthy in which he condemned some of the standards of care for the mentally ill he witnessed during the early years of his nursing career in the north east.
Review led to closure
G5 came under review because it was only reaching 25 per cent of the patients eligible for the care.
The department of medicine for older people consulted with various groups to see what the alternative model of care could be, including groups such as the Portsmouth Local Involvement Network (LINK, the council of governors at QA, and the Patient Experience Council.
The end of life steering group at the hospital then debated the options and agreed the new model of care would be better for patients.
The senior management team then gave approval for the new model of care to reaplce G5.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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