Hereford care at home plan to free up hospital beds

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A £1.5m scheme to free up hospital beds has begun a year-long trial.

Patients in Hereford will be given treatments like intravenous antibiotics and post-operative care at home rather than on a hospital ward.

A team of 40, including matrons, nurses and therapists, has been recruited by Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG).

The team will also advice GPs on how to avoid the need for a patient to be admitted to hospital at a later date.

'Sort problem'

Dr Crispin Fisher, from the HCCG, said: "The system has been creaking for some time [and] we decided that we really had to do something different to try and solve this problem."

Consultants from the Wye Valley NHS Trust will be responsible for the supervision the new team.

The success of the scheme will be measured in terms of improved recovery rates and improved experience of patients, the HCCG said.

Dr Fisher said: "We're choosing to spend money on community services rather than putting it into the hospital to try and sort this problem out and we very much hope that if it works it will help the hospital function more efficiently."

A trust spokesman said the "virtual wards" should have an impact on the number of beds occupied and A&E attendances by helping patients with long-term conditions seek the right support.

The trust has 208 beds for acute care, they added.

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