Private care beds at new Welwyn Garden City hospital

PLANS for the new-look QE2 Hospital will see up to 12 beds for short stay patients, and potentially 90 more provided by a private care home on the site.

The proposals, which would see the current QE2 demolished, and a new smaller hospital built in its place, will be put before NHS bosses next month.

A Rapid Assessment Unit will house the dozen beds to check patients, primarily older people, and make sure the right support is put in place for them, based on their clinical and social care needs.

An NHS Hertfordshire spokeswoman said: “The unit will, in many cases, ensure that older people don’t need to be admitted into longer-term hospital beds elsewhere when this is not the right thing for them.”

But many more beds could also be made available and the PCT expects these to be run by a private company.

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The spokeswoman said: “In current plans for the site we have also allocated space to provide intermediate care/reablement beds as part of a future care home development.

“Intermediate care refers to the package of care and support given to older people to help them recover after they have left a major hospital and can also be put in place to help people who need a bit of extra support to stop their health getting worse and to prevent them being admitted into hospital.”

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She added: “Over the next 12 months the PCT, Hertfordshire County Council and local GPs will be working together to consider how we provide this intermediate care service on the site where the new QE2 is being built.

“We anticipate we will be doing this in partnership with an independent sector organisation, which will run the care home, with up to 90 beds, providing a range of facilities, catering to different needs.

“The detailed planning of services is being taken forward by a clinical steering group, made up of Welwyn Hatfield GPs and clinicians from the QE2.

“Their work will form part of the outline business case which will be presented to the board of NHS Hertfordshire in March and the group will guide the development of the new hospital until it opens its doors in 2014.”

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