Inpatient admissions at Fife hospitals hit five-year low

Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy
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THE number of elective inpatient admissions coming into Fife’s hospitals have fallen to the lowest figure recorded since 2008.

In the 12 months up to March, 2013, 7,058 patients were admitted, a decrease of 513 (6.8 per cent) over the previous 12 months.

The figures were revealed in a report to NHS Fife’s operational division committee and were hailed as a “success” by chairman David Stewart.

He said: “There are a lot of good things in this report.

“Sometimes, I think we can be a bit too blasé when it comes to good news, but we shouldn’t because this is a success.

The ‘Activity and Waiting Times Report’ was delivered by Andrea Wilson, director of clinical delivery, who also showed the inpatient waiting had also come down.

It was reported that patient cancellations had increased in January, 2012 but Mrs Wilson said they had started to come down again.

“The problem is that most cancellations are last minute,” she said.

“It is a problem but one we will continue to look at.”

Mr Stewart said he thought a “demographic timebomb” had gone off with regard to patient’s age.

“It strikes me that a greater number of elderly people are attending the hospital,” he said.

“We are seeing more mature patients occupying beds in the hospital which is putting pressure on patient flow, but we are coping with it.”

The committee was also asked permission to consider a recommendation for improving treatment time guarantee.

Under the current system, patients are offered two dates for admission and if these are refused a further two dates are offered.

Susan Fraser, divisional general manager, proposed a change whereby the process starts earlier than the current 12 week pathway. Ms Fraser said NHS Fife had been advised that the current system is out of line with other NHS Boards in Scotland.

The board agreed to consider the proposal in full at its next meeting scheduled for July 17.