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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Hospitals trial nurse home visits
Nurse and patient
Nurses visit patients' homes to carry out tests and treatment
Cornish community hospitals are to concentrate on delivering healthcare to patients at home in order to make better use of budgets.

The changes are part of a shake-up of services aimed at keeping people out of hospital as much as possible.

A six-month trial scheme by the Central Cornwall's Acute Care at Home team has saved 700 hospital bed days.

Instead of patients spending time in hospital, nurses visit them at home to carry out tests and treatment needed.

It's not about closing beds, it's about redesigning and reconfiguring services
Barbara Hewitt-Silk, Patients' Forum
The NHS in Cornwall spends 47% of its budget on hospital beds, compared to an average of 43% nationally.

The Central Cornwall Primary Care Trust hopes the proposals will allow a more effective use of its budget, as well as helping patients be more comfortable.

William Pappin, from St Austell, has a chronic heart condition which would normally require a stay in hospital.

Under the trial, a nurse visits him at home to carry out the treatment he needs instead.

Steve Collings of the Acute Care at Home Team said: "Through this, we can bring patients home from hospital a lot earlier than we would usually. We can also prevent patients from being admitted in the first place.

"Also, when patients are at home, they tend to get a lot better much quicker."

Mr Pappin said: "They come every day and give what I call my 'MoT'. I'd rather be at home anytime than be in hospital."

Providing services

Carol Williams of the Central Cornwall Primary Care Trust: "Community hospitals are absolutely vital to the delivery of our service.

"But what we need to do is make sure we have more community nurses and therapists out there to support people to get care in their own home."

Barbara Hewitt-Silk of the Patients' Forum said: "It's not about closing beds, it's about redesigning and reconfiguring services.

"It's also looking to the future and asking what people and patients need and how can we best provide those services."

The Central Cornwall Primary Care Trust now wants to hear what others think about the proposals, which it has spent a year working on with patients and focus groups.

Local people have three months to say what they think about the proposed changes.

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