Confusion over services on offer at Solihull Hospital
There is uncertainty about the services on offer at Solihull Hospital and where ambulances will take patients following a 999 call, it has been suggested.
Cllr Jo Fairburn (Lib Dem, Olton) said there seemed to be some “ambiguity” about what sort of cases the Lode Lane site was geared up to deal with.
“It’s just very confusing,” she said. “A lot of people in Solihull still think there is an A&E and they are surprised when you say there isn’t one.”
Health bosses confirmed there wasn’t a casualty unit at the site – the facility was officially downgraded several years ago – although Solihull does have two “resus beds” that can be used by paramedics.
Paul Williams, from University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), was among senior NHS staff giving an update to councillors on urgent care services in the borough.
In response to Cllr Fairburn’s comments, he said where a patient was taken would depend on the circumstances of the case.
“We have very established protocols with the West Midlands Ambulance Service,” he said.
“So if you are having a cardiac arrest, a stroke etc, you will go without any hesitation directly to the nearest emergency department, which is not what Solihull is.
“But if you are a patient who is having a really severe exacerbation of a problem with their lungs – breathlessness – they could very easily go to Solihull.”
He added that around 40 per cent of calls to the ambulance service in the region did not result in a trip to hospital at all.
During a wide-ranging discussion this week, the council scrutiny board asked questions about dealing with mental health cases, the decision on whether to admit a patient and pressures on the service.
Mr Williams said that Solihull was consistently performing above the national target for dealing with urgent care cases within four hours.
Although he admitted there was increasing demand, with urgent ambulance attendances having increased by 20 per cent in the past year.
“It is an extremely busy unit, but very, very efficient,” he said.
“Wherever possible they send people home, they don’t keep people in their beds unless they absolutely need to.”
Although Cllr Katy Blunt (Con, Olton) said that all councillors would be familiar with “horror stories” of unsafe discharges.
“I’m really concerned with the anecdotal information I’m getting about people going to hospital, told to go home, going to hospital, told to go home.
“I had one resident who was a patient three times in three days because they were being discharged home.
“Although, as you say, keeping people out of hospital is sometimes ideal, it isn’t always … Ultimately if someone needs to be in hospital, they need to be in hospital.”
In response, Mr Williams said: “If we can avoid a frail, elderly person being in hospital then we will avoid it, as long as it’s safe to discharge.
“Which is why I’m really concerned that if you’ve got particular examples that you can share with us … we will investigate every single one of them.”
Cllr Ken Hawkins, chair of the scrutiny board, joked that he had recently been a “mystery shopper” at the NHS, having been taken to Solihull Hospital at midnight with an infection.
He described the treatment there and at Birmingham’s QE as “second to none” and, summing up the discussion, he said that there had been huge improvements to services locally.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust had merged with the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in April last year.
It was rated “good” in an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), published last month.
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/confusion-over-services-offer-solihull-15943283