Paediatric Care at Bassetlaw Hospital – Part 3

by Leon Duveen on 31 January, 2017

Here is the response I received form the Chief Operating Officer at the Trust in response to my emails to the Chief Executive

31 January 2017


RE:  Closure of the Paediatric Ward at Bassetlaw overnight

Thank you for your recent email in regard to the Pediatric Ward at Bassetlaw Hospital.

It is Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ key priority to ensure services are safe and reliable.  The Trust will maintain paediatric services at Bassetlaw Hospital for local families but with a new service model and these changes have been made as a result of significant medical and nursing workforce shortages, and as such are required on safety grounds.

The Trust has multiple nursing vacancies and despite numerous recruitment drives, we have failed to fill these posts.  The main issue is that children require specialist registered children’s nurses to care for them, as per Care Quality Commission (CQC) legislation, and there continues to be a national shortage of this specialism.  Compounding this further, there are also very few of these nurses available on agency books.

The Paediatric Ward, known as A3, will close to admissions from 7pm each day, effective 30 January 2017.  Although the overnight service cannot be maintained, an Ambulatory Paediatric Unit will be in place.  This revised model is in line with national practice and the unit will be consultant-led and is available from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.  Our data shows that, in general, the majority of all paediatric attendances to Bassetlaw Hospital arrive between these hours.

This specialist service will deliver urgent assessment, diagnosis and treatment.  This should reduce the amount of time children have to spend in the hospital and decrease admissions.  Any child requiring an overnight stay will be transferred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, or Sheffield Children’s Hospital, with transport arranged as appropriate.

We remain fully committed to delivering quality services at Bassetlaw Hospital and the Trust has invested £278,000 in a new children’s outpatient facility to improve the environment for children and parents.  The new unit is located next to the Paediatric Ward, so this gives the Trust what has been described as a ‘mini Children’s Hospital’.  Following the changes to inpatient care, daily consultant-led clinics will be undertaken seven days a week to review children who have been discharged.

Senior paediatric medical cover remains available 24/7 and any child attending the Emergency Department overnight will be assessed by a specialist, who will ensure the child is treated effectively and safely.

The Paediatric Ward is used by a number of families for children who have ongoing care needs. The Trust has spoken individually to these families and letters have been sent to explain the best ways for the children to be seen and to ensure there is a personalised care plan in place for any future stays.

Alongside our partners at NHS Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), we will continue to review the situation to ensure that the changes being made are effective in providing high quality care.  Whilst the availability of specialist staff is unlikely to change in the near future, we will be carrying out a review of the situation at the end of the summer.

I hope you find the above information helpful, if you require further assistance please get in touch.

Yours faithfully

David Purdue

Chief Operating Officer

This more or less repeats what the CCG Chief Officer wrote to me (see Paediatric Care at Bassetlaw Hospital – Part 2).  I am going  write to Mr Purdue again with a couple of the questions from the comments in the Keep Our Children’s Ward Open Group  on Facebook.

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