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Hydrotherapy pool to remain open

02 February 2011

The hospital’s hydrotherapy pool will remain open after a service redesign implemented by the staff.

The closure of the 30 year old pool was one of the schemes put forward under the 2011 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) proposals. Last year, 2,708 appointments were made in the physiotherapy department to use the pool. 

3 of the 30 physiotherapy department staff successfully applied for voluntary redundancy under the States voluntary redundancy scheme in August 2010. The existing staff, led by superintendent physiotherapist Chris Sanderson, will offer a redesigned service which allows the pool to remain open for its foreseeable life span.

Mr Sanderson said “When the voluntary redundancies were granted we took the opportunity to look at our physiotherapy services. We realised that a reconfiguration would allow the hydrotherapy pool to remain open. In addition, services to maternity patients which had also been earmarked for cutting have been redesigned to maintain an appropriate service.

“We have looked at how the pool is used, and we can use it more effectively by running more group sessions in the afternoons, so there are 3 or 4 people in the water at a time, rather than one.

"This physiotherapy skill mix review has resulted in a more streamlined department, offering a similar service but with an emphasis on more group sessions. We now have the opportunity to continue to deliver a service and still make the required CSR saving."

Health and Social Services Department Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke, said of the hydrotherapy pool "This is a very carefully considered decision. The changes required are being implemented on an incremental basis to allow for any training needs to be completed. This will enable patients to continue their rehabilitation in a safe environment under the supervision of a trained member of staff.

“I am very proud of the hard work which has gone into the redesign of this service. The end result is a service that is retained but run in a different way that is more cost effective.” 

In addition to a re-worked pool service, the community physiotherapy staff who look after patients in their own homes have been brought together and centralised as one team at Westmount Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre. There is a now a bigger team working from a single base, allowing economies of scale to be realised. Better communication between team members means that staff are able to respond even more swiftly to requests in the community.

Mr Sanderson said “Being based at the Westmount Rehabilitation Centre next to Samares Ward will allow the smooth transition of care for patients being discharged home following a period of rehabilitation at Overdale. Patients at the St Saviours Hospital and Clinique Pinel site will also be managed by the community staff.

“More group patient education sessions are being established reflecting the work very successfully developed by the back pain service over the last 3 years. This way services are targeted towards patients with specific needs that physiotherapy can address.

“Another key service change will be in maternity where midwives have started to refer patients using specific criteria, creating a more efficient service that targets the patients that really need the more specialist care offered by physiotherapy.

"In addition there will be more group sessions in the gymnasium where patients will have better access to information and education about their therapy. We are in the process of rolling out direct GP access to the department. This has meant we can see some patients very soon after diagnosis, with the potential therefore to resolve their ailment quicker and with less intervention.”

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