Alston hospital and health services are going from strength to strength

There really is no place like home and more people on Alston Moor are able to be treated closer to home since the way healthcare was delivered on the Moor was changed two years ago.

Staff at Alston hospital have been undergoing training to increase their skills so they are able to deliver more care to people across the moor.

Healthcare assistants have begun training to catheterise patients which, when complete will free up time for the registered nurses to undertake more complicated procedures.

Michelle Liptrot, junior sister at Alston said: “The fact that the healthcare assistants will be able to catheterise will mean that any one of the team can help these patients rather than just the registered nurses. It means we are investing in and utilising the skills of our health care assistants.”

The registered nurses are also undergoing training to bring more care and skills into the Alston nursing team.

Michelle Liptrot, junior sister at Alston said: “We have now started our intravenous (IV) training which when complete means we will be able give patients who need them IV drips, such as antibiotics,. At the moment if patients need this they usually have to travel to Carlisle. When we are fully trained it will save our patients a lot of time and stress to be able to have the procedure on their doorstep.”

The hospital also provides dressing clinics and as part of the day hospital, falls clinics. The plan is to develop these further and to build relationships with the occupational therapy and physiotherapy teams to help with prevention work.

The day hospital support patients who need a little more support and works to ensure patients don’t deteriorate and prevents admissions to hospital.

Louise Walton, team leader at Alston said: “The day hospital really is a good thing for Alston Moor, patients can be referred by the GPs, they can self-refer or the community team can refer them. We can see up to seven patients a day 4 days a week and it is helping people stay in their own homes. It is an opportunity for the nursing staff to spend time talking to the patients and we often pick up on the early signs of an infection or the fact that a little more support may be needed for that person.  The nursing staff can even follow up with an evening call if that is required.”

There are plans for the bungalow to be refurbished and used as a place for First Step to provide their clinics from. First Step provide support for mild to moderate mental health issues. By having this dedicated space for the mental health teams it is much more private for those patients.

A trainee psychotherapist John Williams is already working alongside the GP surgery to help ensure early intervention for people who are struggling with their mental health and well-being.

Tania Rymer, practice manager said: “John is really making a difference in the practice, because he is here people can access him very easily and we can support people to get the right help and support quickly.

We are also very excited to welcome a new GP in the New Year, Dr Gordon Gowans will join the team here and is looking forward to helping the people of Alston Moor.

The surgery is also planning to start a Cancer support group in the New Year with the support of Macmillan as well and we will be letting people know more about this when we can.”

There are also plans to better utilise the hospital building as well.

Malcolm Forster, who is the vice Chairman of the League of Friends for Alston said: “We are hoping to become one of the trial sites for telemedicine – remote hospital clinic consultation and one of the former big bedrooms will be used for that. This potentially will save patients considerable travelling. “We also would like to undertake some building work to make the four ormer small bedrooms into two larger room, one to be a dedicated clinic room for the day hospital patients, the other as meeting room and space for other agencies to use to support our population. We hope to start the building work later in the New Year.”