Wirral Hospital is leading the way in a Government push looking at how the country cares for its growing elderly and more frail population.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last summer that hospitals need to have a plan in place to help vulnerable older people who, with multiple, complex conditions, "are the heaviest users of the NHS.”

New measures designed to ensure elderly people receive the most appropriate treatment and care are now fully operational at Arrowe Park Hospital, including a new12-bed “frailty unit.”

The unit opened its doors in December, making it the first of its kind in the North West.

The facility provides specialist care for elderly patients with an aim of reducing readmissions back into areas such as A&E.

Hospital chief executive David Allison said : “Our older people’s assessment unit now provides a high quality service for older people and incorporates the newly-opened frailty beds and an older people’s short stay unit within an acute care setting.

“This means patients receive a comprehensive geriatric assessment and appropriate care initiated on admission rather than admitting them to a hospital ward which may not be necessary.”

Patients being cared for on the unit and the short stay unit receive a range of additional support including consultant assessment rounds taking place twice each day, seven days per week.

Further support is provided by occupational therapists physiotherapists and pharmacists who have the appropriate skills to treat older people.