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New ward opens in partnership with Royal Papworth

As part of a pioneering partnership, Addenbrooke's patients who are medically fit are being looked after in a temporary ward at Royal Papworth Hospital, ahead of being discharged.

Papworth/CUH ward
The team working on the new ward, staffed by CUH.

The ward will remain open until spring and has been set up by Royal Papworth Hospital (RPH) to help ease winter pressures at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), particularly while there's such high demand for emergency care. 

The 20 bed ward at RPH is being staffed by CUH and is for patients medically fit for discharge, but for whom home care packages are not yet in place.

Since opening 13 days ago, the new ward has been fully utilised and has discharged more than 40 patients.

Papworth/CUH ward
Josephine Relfe, CUH patient.

92 year old Josephine Relfe, from Cambridgeshire, is a patient on the temporary ward.

She is recovering from two fractures to her skull and one in her lower spine, following a fall. She will require regular physiotherapy outside of hospital, but with no relatives nearby, or any carer to help, she can't return home yet. She said:

"I'm an independent, stubborn, old biddy. I'm used to doing my own cooking and washing and what have you. I'd like to be able to walk better and go home soon."

Papworth/CUH ward
Nurse Fabio Perez looking after a CUH patient on the new ward.

The ward is staffed night and day by three registered nurses and three healthcare support workers.

Royal Papworth Hospital has created the ward space for CUH by temporarily re-locating non-clinical services normally based in the area. This means it has no impact on Papworth's own clinical capacity or patient care.

Kirsty Jones is matron on the new ward. She said:

"Papworth has made us feel really welcome and we're making good progress in discharging around three or four patients every day.

"Getting patients back home or to a care home is vital for easing pressure on beds in Addenbrooke's but it's also better for patients. Staying in hospital can increase the risk of infection and deconditioning so staying active and returning to daily routines at home is really important."

"It means our focus on this ward is to make sure patients are enabled to do things for themselves and to improve their mobility as much as possible."

This partnership between CUH and Royal Papworth Hospital is one example of the NHS in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough working together, to find effective ways to reduce some of the pressures facing services

Chief operating office for CUH Nicola Ayton said:

“Like NHS hospitals across the country, CUH experienced significant pressure on our emergency services over the Christmas period, with high numbers being admitted with flu and other winter illnesses.

"Our partnership with Royal Papworth is one of a number of the measures we planned for to help ease pressure and free up bed spaces at Addenbrooke's to treat the sickest patients."

Chief executive of Royal Papworth Eilish Midlane said: 

“The NHS is facing significant pressure nationally and locally. As the specialist heart and lung hospital for the East of England we are committed to helping our system partners, across the NHS, social care and local authority, where possible.  

“By creating this extra capacity for our colleagues at CUH, we hope it allows more patients to get the care they need this winter.”