Thursday, July 12, 2018

Letter to be delivered to 10 Downing Street today on Critical Care Beds at Queens and King George

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
SW1A 2AA    
Re: Appeal for additional Critical Care bed funding  at Queens & King George Hospitals

Dear Prime Minister

We write regarding the critical bed units at Queens & King George Hospitals, managed by Barking Havering & Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUT).

It is accepted that critical care beds not only improve mortality rates but also lead to better recoveries from serious illness. Unlike general admission beds, the number of critical care beds has been increasing.

So we note with concern that both units were frequently full last winter. King George was full 12 times this February and Queens was full 5 times in February. In addition, both units were full on the same three days in February. Although March and April (the most recent figures we have) see an easing of pressure on the units, there are still high occupancy rates and days when the units are full.

Some of the beds at Queens are extremely specialist, dealing with the most seriously ill patients being flown in from across North East London, Essex and Kent. For ease of reference we copy from the BHRUT website the detail of the excellent work this unit does at this end of this email.

BHRUT have not disputed NHS statistics on the website, showing more cancelled operations in the first quarter of 2018 in comparison to the first quarter of 2015.

Our concern is that unless more critical care beds are opened this coming winter, the situation is likely to get worse. The North East London, Essex and Kent populations are growing all the time which is bound to put even more pressure on the two units.

We welcome the Government's recent announcement of more funding for the NHS as well as the fact that more critical care beds were opened in 2017, but we note that the units still cannot cope during busy periods.

Last week BHRUT lost an arbitration case costing £26M and have a reported deficit of around £60M. Unless central government helps tackle this debt it would seem highly difficult for BHRUT to open the additional critical care beds it needs.

We request that you look into this matter and find a way to help BHRUT open more critical care beds this coming winter at King George & Queens Hospitals.

Yours Sincerely

Keith Prince AM Havering & Redbridge
Cllr Michael Deon Burton Havering Council
Cllr Nic Dodin Havering Council
Cllr Denis O'Flynn
Cllr Emily Rodwell Barking & Dageham
Bob Archer Redbridge Trades Council

Extract from BHRUT website below

Queen’s Hospital is the main neurosurgical referral centre for North East London and Essex. We have a helicopter landing pad, and accept neuro trauma patients from Essex, Kent and London Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.
Our neuro critical care department is a state-of-the-art 12 bed sub speciality intensive care unit staffed by six consultants, as part of a multi-disciplinary team with specialist neuro ITU nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, speech therapists and dieticians.
The unit admits both neurosurgical patients (e.g. head/spine injuries and post elective neurosurgery) and neurology patients (e.g. Guillian Barre syndrome, Myaesthenia Gravis, Status Epilepticus, Acute Stroke and Encephalitis).
A daily consultant intensivist led ward round is the focus for patient management discussions and clinical decision making. In addition, daily review of patients by a consultant microbiologist provides high quality advice as well as promoting excellent standards of infection control.
Support by colleagues in neurosurgery, neuroradiology and neurophysiology ensures rapid access to diagnostic opinion and intervention. There is also access to a variety of specialist non-neuroscience opinions from colleagues throughout the rest of the hospital.
We are an elite training centre for specialist neuro anaesthesia and neuro critical care training in London. The high quality training that we delivery means we are one of the most popular training centres in London for junior doctors. The unit also provides training for non specialist neuro nurses within the region.
The neuro critical care specialises in advanced monitoring of the brain using techniques such as intra cranial pressure, transcranial doppler, brain tissue oxygen monitoring and pressure reactivity Index. This enables us to deliver the most modern and highest quality care.
Our unit participates in multi centre and single centre research trials, to try and improve understanding of critically ill patients with brain dysfunction. We recently took part in the RAIN study (Risk Adjustment in Neurocritical Care). 
We are one of the few hospitals in the country which follow the guidelines recommended by National Institute of Clinical Excellence for a sub speciality ITU follow up clinic. This is run by Dr De La Cerda, to identify and solve any outstanding problems from your stay.

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