Revamp plan for hospital

A COMMUNITY hospital in Great Yarmouth isin line for major modernisation as health bosses meet a pledge to shift some health services away from the James Paget University Hospital.

A COMMUNITY hospital in Great Yarmouth is

in line for major modernisation as health bosses meet a pledge to shift some health services away from the James Paget University Hospital.

And patients in Yarmouth and Waveney will soon benefit from more doctors, longer opening hours at surgeries and cuts in waiting times for treatment.

A new five-year health strategy for the area also includes multi-million pound cash boosts for community hospitals - and as part of the plans, Northgate Hospital is in line for extensive revamp.

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A draft strategic plan was approved by the primary care trust on Friday night, with

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney pledging to deliver the “fastest improving health in England”.

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It envisages the average patient list for GPs will drop from 1,800 to 1,600, thanks to 15 extra GPs, and the average waiting time between referral and receiving treatment for most patients being cut to just 10 weeks from the current target of 18 weeks.

Currently, 50pc of GP practices open for extended hours, offering an extra 30 minutes per week outside normal hours for every 1,000 patients on their books, although this figure is expected to hit the 70pc mark by Christmas. The trust is keen to develop incentives for GPs to be open from 8am-8pm seven days

a week.

There will be six to eight extra dentists over the next two years, including at Yarmouth and Martham.

But the trust also faces big challenges, as statistics revealed an 18-year gap in life expectancy between the least and most deprived wards in the district.

PCT chief executive Mike Stonard said: “That's a staggering statistic and one of the priority areas of this strategy is to reduce that gap. We need to start looking at lifestyle and it's a much more subtle approach

than we may have been

used to.”

Measures such as free swimming and a continuation of the fruit and vegetable van service, which sells produce at cost price in deprived areas, would help address the problem, as well as cutting obesity and smoking rates.

More options for long-term care, including care at home, will be aided by the opening of a new multi-agency primary care centre in Yarmouth next year.

Over the next five years, the trust, which is funded by central government, plans to pump a gross of £100m into services, on top of its current spending level of £350m a year.

The plan will pass through a number of stages before it is finalised.

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