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Health / Number of beds reduced in hospital’s surgical ward

NHS Shetland said fewer patients are requiring an overnight stay after a new unit opened in 2022

Photo: Shetland News

NHS Shetland says the number of beds in the Gilbert Bain Hospital’s surgical unit will reduce from 20 to 13 on a permanent basis following a pilot last year.

The health board said the pilot was undertaken to “better reflect the number of patients needing inpatient care”.

It said the pilot demonstrated that as a result of opening a new day surgical and ambulatory care unit in 2022, fewer patients required an overnight stay in hospital.

Directing of nursing and acute services Professor Kathleen Carolan said: “With shorter lengths of stay in hospital, the bed occupancy on the surgical ward last year was 55 per cent and this shows the success of being able to provide more treatments and procedures where patients can go home on the same day.

“By reducing the number of beds overall on the surgical ward, it also gives us more flexible space for patient care (because the surgical ward does not have many single rooms).

“As a result of the sustained reduction in bed occupancy, we have taken the decision to reduce the beds longer term from April 2024 onwards.”

Prof Carolan added that the surgical ward will have the same number of permanent registered nursing staff supporting patients, as they will continue to provide nursing care for patients in the high dependency unit.

“We do have a finite nursing workforce and whilst we have had some success recruiting new nurses into the teams in the hospital, we do still have vacancies across the various units and departments for nurses and healthcare support workers,” she said.

“Therefore, making these changes will also help us to ensure we can maintain safe staffing levels across the whole hospital site, in line with the legislation (Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019).

“As with the pilot last year, we are confident that patients should not experience any changes to their care experience whilst in hospital as a result of this change.”

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