Frome’s Assessment Bed Service: Future Secure-For Now

Photo of Dr Nick Ashley, Unit Lead Nurse Jane Durant, Senior Ward Nurse Anna Hale, Lead Ward GP Dr Alex Blackham and Unit Nurse Amy Mitchell

Everyone in Frome knows where the Community Hospital is in town. Many also know about the 28-bed Marshfield Ward at the hospital, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of patients recovering from fractures and serious illnesses. Within Marshfield Ward itself however there is also the specialist Assessment Unit, which is currently about to celebrate its fourth anniversary.

Until recently, any patient requiring a medical assessment before undergoing possible secondary treatment at the RUH in Bath, inevitably had to travel and attend at Bath first in order to have that assessment carried out. Since the 2-bed Assessment Unit was set up at the Marshfield Ward, this is no longer necessarily the case.
Dr Alex Blackham is a GP and partner here at the Frome Medical Practice. She is also a key member of the Assessment Unit project.

‘The Assessment Unit has already made a huge difference to hundreds of our patients. Preliminary procedural tests can now be carried out here in Frome, rather than patients having to go through the stress and upheaval of having to travel to the RUH or elsewhere,’ says Dr Blackham. ‘Patients do not stay overnight at Frome. Most are only here for a few hours. What we are doing is to make available as much medical treatment as we can here in our own community. This is really modern GP practice at its best and we know from the feedback that we get from the regular Marshfield Ward Forum meetings that our patients are absolutely delighted to be treated in their home area and particularly for the elderly and the vulnerable, they do not have to face the worry of travelling elsewhere to a large urban centre. It also saves money.’

The Assessment Unit is available for all local patients in Mendip, including patients from the Beckington Family Practice, the Mendip Country Practice as well as here at the Frome Medical Practice.

‘The first three years of the Assessment Unit project have been a real success and has substantially benefitted patients,’ adds Dr Blackham. ‘The positive news is that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has now agreed to extend the contract until April 2018 when a further re-evaluation will then take place. The facility that patients have here in Frome really is ahead of its time. However, we must all just hope that this great service has a future that stretches beyond April next year.’

Posted May 2017