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Agenda item


The purpose of the report is to provide an update in relation to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust Restoration of Services including continuing improvement.


Ms Janet Barnsley, Executive Director of Integrated Care and Performance, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTH), presented a report on the restoration of services following the Covid-19 pandemic. She informed Members that the hospital had fully reopened and that services were at 95 per cent of their pre-Covid levels.  Ms Barnsley reported that this was considered a good level considering the difficulties faced during the pandemic and the additional pressure it had created. She advised that going forward BTH did not want to increase pressure on staff and therefore a number of providers had been appointed to outsource and insource services where the hospital lacked staffing resources. This had included the use of extra bed space at facilities such as The Spire, where up to forty patients could be accommodated. BTH had also implemented ongoing infection control procedures subject to ongoing review to ensure patient safety.


In response to a query, Ms Barnsley explained that insourcing of services was a method of service delivery whereby an outside provider would be used to offer services in the hospital where BTH’s resources were unavailable. This had the benefit of maximising the use of BTH’s assets whilst reducing pressure on its staff.


The Committee queried the number of operations and/or procedures that had been cancelled as the result of a patient testing positive for Covid-19. Ms Barnsley replied that the number was very low, but that the information could be provided in writing following the meeting.


It was noted that the tourist nature of Blackpool meant that the hospital needed to accommodate visitors as well as local residents and the Committee queried how this could impact services. Ms Barnsley explained that this could create issues and highlighted that increased visitor numbers had been recorded following the lifting of Covid restrictions in the summer of 2021. However, she noted that the number of visitor and resident patients was reviewed daily and where possible long-term patients were transferred to a hospital closer to their home.


The Committee noted that delays in discharging patients had in some cases been the result of either Blackpool Council or Lancashire County Council’s Adult Social Care (ASC) teams not having care packages in place. Members therefore asked if a breakdown of how many delays each ASC team had been responsible for could be provided. Ms Barnsley reported that staffing pressures within the care sector had also contributed to delays, highlighting that there had been a move towards domiciliary care and away from residential care. Domiciliary care providers had experienced an ongoing loss of staff due to a number of factors, including vaccine hesitancy and other misleading information about the pandemic.


The increase in cases nationally of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was raised by the Committee, who queried if a plan was in place to deal with its impact. Ms Barnsley replied that BTH had preparations in place but that the impact of the variant was as yet unknown. The hospital was therefore working with Public Health to model predictions.


The Committee agreed:


1.             That the number of operations/procedures that had been cancelled due to a positive Covid-19 test be provided to members; and

2.             That figures breaking down the number of delays in discharge attributed to Lancashire and Blackpool ASC teams be provided to members of the Committee.

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