Bluebell Lodge opens at Ormskirk Hospital to take pressure off A&E

A new ward opened at Ormskirk hospital this month to provide extra beds for patients over winter.

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Up to 22 patients can be accommodated at Bluebell Lodge in what was an unused ward. Contractors worked round the clock on the £120,000 project to ensure it was ready for cleaning and furnishing just before Christmas.

Bluebell Lodge is for patients who are ready to go home from hospital at either Southport or Ormskirk but whose care package or other arrangements are not yet in place.

No patient will spend more than three days there and care will be led by nurses.

Simon Featherstone, Director of Nursing at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Like many hospitals we often have patients whose discharge is delayed because the continuing care they need isn’t ready at home. These delays reduce our bed stock, slow the admission of new patients and put pressure on care in A&E.

“Bluebell Lodge is a key plank of our winter plan. It keeps patients ready for discharge safe and cared for while freeing up valuable medical beds for those who need them.”

Simon added that everyone has a role in keeping hospital care for people who really need it.

“Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs, general aches and pains, and flu will usually clear up on their own. Keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and, if appropriate, treat with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol,” he said.

“You should contact a GP or the GP out of hours service for help with injuries or illnesses that won’t go away.”

A&E was for people facing emergencies and life-threatening situations such as serious accidents, serious burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes.

Simon added: “That’s why you might be better examining your options first and choosing another NHS service – or even treating yourself.”

Alternatively, West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk hospital is open from 8am to 10pm all year round. Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre at The Concourse is open from 7am to 10pm weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.

Local pharmacies and NHS Choices are also a good source of information and advice.