Drop in emergency admissions and less long stays in hospital prompt ward reorganisation at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

General View of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney. Picture: James Bass

General View of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2008

A ward reorganisation at the region's busiest hospital has resulted in the loss of six beds.

But the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) said reductions in emergency admissions and a drop in the number of patients in hospital for more than 14 days contributed to the rejig.

Knapton Ward, which was an older people's medicine ward, will be reorganised to develop the hospital's frailty service, with the focus on the rapid treatment and appropriate discharge of older people.

The ward is due to open in time for the winter.

Gissing Ward - previously a general surgical and thoracic ward - is being converted into a high dependency unit (HDU). A NNUH spokesman said this was 'part of a planned service expansion to accommodate our increase in cancer and complex surgical work'.

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A small amount of Gissing Ward is also due to be cover ted into a relatives' room and 13 beds will be reserved for use at during busy periods.

While the overall number of beds is not reducing, space for medical boarders - patients temporarily on a different ward to their medical specialty - is dropping.

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This, a spokesman said, was due to a 'summer improvement in performance' which saw emergency admissions and delayed transfers of care decline.

Delayed transfers of care occur when a person is fit and well enough to leave hospital, but often can't due to problems in the social care system.

He added: 'We are working with our surgical teams on the exact mix of specialities and expect to finalise this over the next two weeks.

'Our renovation programme has actually increased and Earsham ward is scheduled to undergo this work in the coming months and over the next two years all or most wards moving at some point. This, we are sure, will have a positive impact on patients.'

After the reconfiguration, the HDU expansion will cause a loss of six beds.

Chief operating officer Richard Parker said: 'Our clinical staff at the NNUH are extremely innovative and are constantly striving to improve patient experience and the efficiency of our hospital.

'This is a good example of what we have done and our vision for the future.'

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