Many questions left unanswered

LORNA MARSH The latest report in the controversial review of healthcare in Norfolk includes proposed bed numbers and alternatives to make up shortfalls but gives few other details.

LORNA MARSH

The latest report in the contro-versial review of healthcare in Norfolk includes proposed bed numbers and alternatives to make up shortfalls but gives few other details.

Neither of the central issues of finances and site locations are touched upon in the blueprint.

Some of the many questions left unanswered include:

Which hospitals will see either bed cuts or complete closures.

The proposed site/s of the remaining units.

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The location of a new central stroke unit.

The possible savings Norfolk PCT can make with the proposals.

The cost of putting the proposals into effect.

At present, 201 out of 227 community hospital beds used for rehabilitation are part of the proposals. The remaining 26, housed in specialist units such as hospices, are not affected.

Out of the 201, some 30 are 'supported beds' which cater for less-serious needs and are seconded to the private sector, in care homes or private hospitals.

The progress report on the review of intermediate care in the county suggests keeping 70 to 80 beds in NHS community hospitals and 40 supported beds.

With a stroke unit housing 30 to 40 beds, that leaves a shortfall of 40 to 60 which, according to the report, will be met by controversial home-based care.

Last night there was speculation that just three out of nine community units would remain, housing 26 beds each, and that the central stroke unit, looking after patients from across the county, would be housed in one of the other existing hospitals.

This would result in a three-tier clinical model. Home-based care would involve a maximum of four visits a day from nursing or therapy staff with appropriate equipment for patients not needing 24-hour supervision.

Supported beds would be for those who are unable to return home and need 24-hour care but are medically stable.

Community hospital NHS beds would be for those with unstable conditions or needing treatment not deliverable at home or in a supported unit.

Join the debate at www.edp24.co.uk

The full PCT report will be available later today from www.norfolk-pct.nhs.uk