Hospital to upgrade private facilities amid far-reaching development

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Norfolk hospital could look for more commercial opportunities and upgrade facilities for private patients amid 'NHS financial constraints'.

The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, is looking at how to bring extra money into the trust as part of its far-reaching plans to develop the site.

And alongside upgrading the emergency department, wards and bringing together outpatient services in one place papers released ahead of a board meeting today (Friday) said the trust could bring its private provision up to 'private contractor standards' and 'maximise a revenue steam for the trust'.

Currently, private inpatients can be treated at the Charnwood Suite on the first floor of the hospital, which has around nine beds.

Private outpatients are seen elsewhere in the hospital.

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In 2016/17 JPUH brought in £874,000 from private patients, compared to £789,000 the year before.

Under new plans, the hospital could also tackle bed blocking by building its own care home.

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Documents said the trust currently has a discharge hub but because local care homes are often full those who are medically fit to leave are often stuck in hospital beds, known as delayed transfers of care.

The care home would specialise in dementia care and could be run completely by the JPUH, close to the hospital, and provide 80 beds.

Alternatively, the trust could partner with county councils and commercial companies to open a home also with 80 beds but providing both step down care, and longer term care beds for dementia patients.

The hospital is also looking at whether commissioning beds in the community from existing providers would be a better option.

Elsewhere on the site bosses were looking to bring NHS outpatient services closer together and also make change to the emergency department to deal with rising demand.

And over the next ten years it was proposed that the hospital's wards be upgraded as well as the hospital's staff accommodation.

JPUH executive Christine Allen said: 'Our site development and estate strategy forms just one element of the trust's overall strategic direction, which is focussed on developing our hospital so that it meets the needs of our patients in the future, working closely with our health and social care partners.

'Work on plans contained in the strategy is already underway, with a focus on expanding and improving our emergency department to help meet demand and improve the environment for our patients and staff.

'Phase one of this ambitious plan was completed last year, with the creation of GP consultation rooms to help reduce pressure in A&E.

'Now, we are focussing on the expansion of our ambulatory care unit, to provide improved facilities for this nationally-recognised way of delivering care. Ambulatory care is a service which brings healthcare teams to the patient, improving the efficiency of their care and reducing their time in hospital.

'Our plans will see the hospital's Ambulatory Care Unit more than double in size to meet the increasing demand for our services, allowing us to see more patients in modern, comfortable surroundings.'

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