Sheppard ward at Musgrove declared officially open!


Sheppard ward at Musgrove declared officially open!

The pressure on hospital inpatient beds tends to be much greater during the winter months, and it gets more challenging every year with increasing numbers of patients needing our care.

Back in late summer, we made a number of significant changes to our wards at both MPH and YDH, by increasing the number of medical beds and admitting patients into fewer surgical beds – made possible in part by our move towards more day surgery and use of our Hospital@Home service.

One of the wards that has been converted to care for medical patients is Sheppard ward at MPH – a former gastroenterology ward in the hospital’s Queen’s Building.

And in mid-December, colleagues from across the hospital came together to mark the ward’s grand opening.

Mayur Naik, ward manager at Sheppard ward, said: “All of our colleagues are excited and well-motivated to look after our patients in this fabulous new environment.

“They love the new layout and the brightness on the ward, and feel it’s much easier for them to look after patients with the right resources and equipment.”

Williams (Wills) Pinto, whose role as one of the matrons in our medical services group covers Sheppard ward, says the reopening is a real boost to colleagues and patients at MPH.

“The opening of Sheppard ward to care for medical patients is hugely positive for everyone, especially our medical service group, as we’re much more likely to be able to care for patients on the right ward to meet their needs,” he says. “The timing couldn't be better, as the additional beds will allow us to meet the increased demand over winter.

"Everyone on Sheppard ward, from our nurses and healthcare assistants, to our allied health professionals and cleaners, and everyone in-between, is thrilled with the incredible work done as part of the renovation.

“This will undoubtedly serve as a well-deserved morale booster for them, as they continue to care for our patients during this challenging period.

“Our estates team played a massive role in the renovation too, by project managing the work and using many of our in-house tradespeople – much like they did for the previous work at the hospital’s Ready 2 Go Unit.”

This change of use at Sheppard ward aims to ensure each of our patients is cared for in the right bed for their medical need, so that they can get the right care sooner, helping them to get home from hospital quicker.

At the start of the year, MPH had a total of 195 surgical beds, but this has been reduced to 178, mainly thanks to more day surgery being offered for an increasing type of operation.

Dr James Gagg, associate medical director for our medical services group, explains:

“The high level of pressures we see each winter often relate to high bed occupancy in hospitals and the challenges in discharging patients into social care.

“Over the last year, we’ve done a huge amount of work to address this by using local data and working together with teams across the organisation.

“We worked to identify how many inpatient beds we needed to maintain a bed occupancy of 92%,  95% of the time. This has led to a change in the split of how beds are distributed between our medical and surgical service groups.

“Many of the changes were made in September when we reorganised our inpatient wards, and the reopening of Sheppard ward is the next step to increasing our bed capacity within medicine to meet the increasing demand.

“The impact is not only on our medical patients though, as by reducing the number of medical patients who need to stay on surgical wards, it helps our surgical teams to continue focusing on the reducing waiting times after the pandemic, which is also so important.”