Gap in hospital provision that stretches district nurse service

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The services provided at Purley Hospital assume that patients only need treatment from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. This glaring gap in provision is stupidity, says PAT GAUGE

Purley Hospital’s GP Hub is not funded to do essential work for patients at weekends, leaving it to the already stretched district nursing service.

This is stupidity – it costs far more to send out a district nurse than for patients who can travel to be treated at the hospital. Liaison between local GP nurses, who provide weekday dressings at GP surgeries, to district nurses is fraught – and the district nurses do not always pick up and act on the referral in time.

Patients also have to wait in all day for a visit at an unannounced time.

Yesterday, the district nurse did not arrive at my home at all.

This is not just an isolated example – both the GP nurses and the district nurses are frustrated by the lack of suitable, cost-effective provision for both chronic conditions and for short-term patients, like me.

Apparently, this aspect of provision was left out of the new contract, so the hospital GP hub refuses to treat patients who are under their GPs for this essential care.

I have needed daily wound dressing (where the wound has to be packed, and covered, daily) since discharge from hospital on June 19. I should be fully healed in a couple of weeks’ time. I am mobile and active and can easily travel to Purley Hospital. My GP surgery nurses do not work weekends. They have this problem with all their patients who need daily dressings. At one time, they were referring patients to Caterham Dene, but that facility now refuses to take it on, too.

I am reasonably assertive and did manage to get a district nurse via NHS111 on the first weekend and on subsequent weekends. The district nurses confirm its time-consuming and frustrating to have to add this to their already overstretched workload. The system failed this weekend – no doubt because the district nursing service is overloaded with housebound patients.

The simple, cost-effective solution is for the weekend dressing work for mobile patients to be added to the Purley GP hub contract.

Come on Croydon – get this sorted asap!

  • Pat Gauge is a pensioner, living in Purley
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