Two more wards are needed for use by Northampton General Hospital to ensure safer care, its chief executive has said.
The comments came after informal feedback was received from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), following a recent inspection, that showed much of the stress being placed on the hospital stemmed from its extremely busy A&E department. Dr Sonia Swart said the solution in the long term would have to involve more beds, on top of NGH’s maximum capacity when dormant wards were open.
She said: “Looking at where we are today, we need to have two extra wards to safely look after patients.
“I don’t know what the specific answer [to where the new wards would be] is at the moment. That answer would be very long.
“I’m talking in theoretical terms. In terms of the work we have to do, have we got the right bed capacity? Currently we don’t.
“The increase we have in work here is bigger than our beds capacity.”
It is unlikely that any new wards could be set up on the main NGH site. However, as the beds would be for recovering patients not yet ready for discharge, they could be situated away from the main hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Swart said A&E was among the issues the CQC highlighted that the hospital was already tackling.
She said: “They noted that we are dominated by A&E pressures and this masks the good care that’s being given.
“Overall they did not raise any issues about poor care on our wards and were impressed by the care they saw.
“The positivity from all of the staff was another thing they were struck by.”