'Never say never': KGH boss still can't rule out Skylark move to Northampton if cases rise

The admission was made in the weekly Northamptonshire Covid press conference

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 4:26 pm

Kettering General Hospital's chief executive has revealed on Friday that they still have not ruled out moving the children's ward to Northampton if Covid cases rise.

This week children were moved from Skylark Ward to other areas within the hospital to help cope with the rising number of Covid-19 patients who require urgent care.

Hospital bosses have said that the move is temporary, with it remaining an internal ward change within KGH, and no other children’s services – including paediatric A&E - are affected.

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Skylark’s 26-bed ward area has been turned over to a medical ward to cope with the rising number of Covid-19 patients who require hospital treatment.

Last week Skylark staff said they had been told to prepare for a move to Northampton General Hospital as the children's ward was stripped, ready to welcome respiratory patients with Covid-19.

But despite a hospital statement saying they were considering options including working with NGH, the hospital soon assured parents the move would not be to NGH in comments left on the Northants Telegraph's Facebook page. A further statement issued later that day then admitted they couldn't rule it out.

At the weekly Covid press conference today Eileen Doyle, chief executive for KGH, said: "Running acute hospitals at the moment you would never say never. If anything else happened or we had another wave or everything didn't go to plan and we hadn't got the numbers right, then it could be, in order to preserve and keep services going, for example in paediatrics.

Kettering General Hospital

"[If] we had a paediatrics service with a smaller number of in-patients as has Northampton General - we've got a big paediatrics ward - why don't we for the moment put them together.

"That's not likely now because numbers are going down. That will help us - along with numbers that are stablising and dropping - to allow us to not make any more dramatic moves.

"I would never say never but there are no plans currently - that is all to do with keeping the demand down."

On Wednesday, Ms Doyle had said that the hospital was 'under extreme pressure' with 178 beds occupied with positive patients including 13 patients needing intensive care.

The remaining paediatric inpatients were transferred from the Foundation Wing to Rockingham Wing with children from Skylark Ward bring moved to Maple Ward – a green (Covid free) 15-bed gynaecology ward in the hospital’s maternity unit – along with paediatric staff and appropriate equipment.

A spokesman for KGH had said: "All of the families of the patients involved have been contacted and the move explained to them with support in place for them.

"Staff have also spoken with other families to assure them that the hospital continues to provide its normal paediatric care, with the same staff, albeit in a temporary location.

"Children with long-term care plans or open access should continue to use our hospital services as they always have done. The only change is the ward they will need to temporarily attend Maple Ward if hospital-based care is required."

The hospital’s children’s A&E department will remain where it is in the ground floor of the Foundation Wing and continue to provide care as normal.

Children's outpatients services will continue to operate as normal, with families attending appointments as arranged.