Revamp brings together elderly people's services at hospital site

ELDERLY patients will be cared for on one site in future at one of Yorkshire's leading hospitals after services and expertise were brought together for the first time.

Wards caring for older people have been opened in refurbished accommodation at St James's Hospital, Leeds, replacing five wards previously open at Leeds General Infirmary.

The revamp is the third major reconfiguration of services in the city this year as part of landmark efforts to redesign services serving patients from the city and people from further afield who require specialist treatment.

Medical wards were centralised at St James's in February and all children's services were brought together at Leeds Children's Hospital in the spring, which is on the infirmary site.

The first of the older people's wards from the infirmary to find a new home has moved into the newly refurbished ward four in Gledhow Wing at St James's. Fifteen patients were transferred, together with all the ward equipment.

Sister Karen Greenwood, who oversaw the switch, said: "It was quite an undertaking to organise the move and find everything when we unpacked at the other end but the important thing was that we managed to maintain patient care.

"For those patients who moved over I think it was a great reassurance that the doctors, nurses and other ward staff they were used to were transferring at the same time, so we were all in it together.

"The ward is roomier and everything is new and bright and we have a lot more storage space so it doesn't look nearly so cluttered."

The new wards have a modern patient call system with the bed number displayed on a screen at the nurses' stations. Key areas such as toilet and washing facilities also have red doors to make them as visible as possible.

More side rooms have been created across the wards and the design of new four-bed bays makes single-sex segregation much easier than before, significantly improving privacy and dignity.

Hospital chiefs hope the changes being carried out in Leeds will improve the quality of care and are also save money as services are provided more efficiently.