Chiefs plan for influx of patients
QUESTIONS over how Swansea hospitals will cope with an influx of patients from Neath Port Talbot will be answered later this month.
Around 9,000 people a year use the acute medical service at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, which will close in September following a well-publicised struggle to find enough doctors to run it.
Health chiefs have admitted they face a challenge making sure Singleton, Morriston and Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital can cope.
ABM has set up a planning group comprising senior clinicians and managers and representatives of Neath Port Talbot Council, the Community Health Council and the ambulance service.
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It is looking at transport for patients, visitors and staff, along with the impact on A&E departments, assessment units and clinical support services.
ABM chief operating officer Alex Howells said: "One of the things we have to take into account is the current flow of patients and how that will be affected.
"The 9,000 people who turn up at the door of Neath Port Talbot Hospital needing treatment will go to one of our other sites. We are working through what that will mean in terms of numbers, where patients live and our capacity to accommodate them."
Mrs Howells added: "By the end of July we will have a detailed idea of what it will mean for patients and staff and transport, and all the other circumstances around it."
ABM says that, of the 9,000 acute medical patients attending Neath Port Talbot annually, only half are admitted as inpatients — and around 1,500 of them are discharged within 24 hours.
Of those that need to be admitted, 64 per cent already go to one of the three hospitals in Swansea and Bridgend.
ABM board member Professor Michael Williams said: "I am concerned that Morriston might not be able to cope with the numbers coming in.
"Morriston is over-used. It's doing a fantastic job but a lot of people go there."
Mrs Howells said: "We are working through the detail about what it might mean for Morriston and Singleton and Princess of Wales.
"We are looking at issues about how people get there, the impact on A&E and assessment units, as well as the impact on inpatient capacity and whether they go back to Neath Port Talbot Hospital or straight home from those sites.
"We need to look at how we support those sites. Sometimes that will be about people and sometimes it will be about physical capacity.
"We do have clinical support for this. We are doing this because clinicians are telling us we have to. We can make sure we have a great deal of clinical leadership and engagement."