Patient surge puts strain on Larbert hospital

Forth Valley Royal
Forth Valley Royal

Patients in Forth Valley hospitals were asked to move to care homes in order to free up beds.

An unusually busy period in recent weeks at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert led to a number of people having to wait longer for non-critical treatments.

And in order to ensure that the flagship facility did not reach capacity, certain patients in community hospitals were transferred to care homes across the NHS Forth Valley area - meaning they could be placed in homes across Stirling and Clackmannan, miles from friends and family.

This week the NHS insisted that such a scenario is not a common occurrence and that all care home arrangements are discussed with the patient and their family.

The Falkirk Herald understands that Forth Valley Royal is still going through a busy period, although the demand for beds has lessened in comparison to the previous fortnight.

There is not thought to be any one specific reason for the sudden increase in the number of patients being treated.

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “We have an agreed policy with local authorities on choosing care homes, which reflects national guidelines.

“Staff in our community hospitals have a close working relationship with local homes and are in regular contact to discuss ongoing care for patients.

“Every attempt is made to transfer people to their first choice of care home, but if this is not possible they are sometimes moved on a temporary basis to another home until a place becomes available in their chosen location.

“Although no situation has arisen where demand at Forth Valley Royal Hospital has exceeded capacity, contingency plans are in place to deal with this situation should it occur. This could include the ability to open up additional beds and transfer patients to other hospitals or care accommodation where appropriate.

“Although the recent busy period has placed some pressure on services and led to a small number of patients having to wait slightly longer for treatment, NHS Forth Valley is continuing to ensure that patients are treated within the national target times.”