Clarifying the hospital move

Primrose Hill Community Hospital, Jarrow
Primrose Hill Community Hospital, Jarrow

I AM writing in response to Mr Grant’s letter ‘Unbelievable treatment of terminally- ill patients’, regarding the transfer of patients and staff from Primrose Hill Hospital to the main hospital site.

I have been the consultant responsible for the Primrose Hospital for many years and would like to assure Mr Grant and others that this move was only made after a lot of thought and consideration, and with assurances for the future care of the patients and staff.

Mr Grant unfortunately appears to have been misinformed and I need to correct some of the comments made in his undoubtedly well-meaning letter.

Firstly, the unit was running at low occupancy because of its isolated position and the increasing number of people choosing to die at home rather than in hospital.

At the same time the number of patients not only attending A&E, but more importantly needing to stay in hospital, was increasing greatly.

Many of these have been frail elderly patients, often with respiratory illness, and nothing to do with the walk-in centre changes.

Patients have had to spend far too long in A&E, and we needed to increase the number of available beds on the hospital site.

The chosen solution was to move the very small number of patients from Primrose, along with the staff, to a larger unit on the main site.

Of those six patients only one could be classed as ‘terminally-ill’ in the sense of having a short life expectancy.

The others were stable but needed to be in hospital for other reasons.

I and the nurses continue as a team to care for those patients, exactly as before, and the ward has been supplemented by extra nurses and doctors so the other part of the ward can accommodate frail elderly people waiting for care support outside hospital.

Staff have not been dispersed or moved to A&E and the standard of care is as good as it was in Primrose.

This is a temporary move to help through the winter and we fully intend to return to Primrose in due course.

I hope this assures Mr Grant and others.

Alan Rodgers,

Medical director,

Consultant geriatrician.