Blackpool hospital bid to 'get patients home'

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
0
Have your say

Health chiefs in Blackpool have launched a raft of measures to help reduce the amount of time people spend in hospital after a study showed a fifth of patients could have gone home earlier.

Health chiefs in Blackpool have launched a raft of measures to help reduce the amount of time people spend in hospital after a study showed a fifth of patients could have gone home earlier.

It is hoped implementing the changes at Blackpool Victoria Hospital (BVH) will reduce pressure in the emergency department and on the ambulance service.

The hospital's medical director Professor Mark O'Donnell told a public board meeting of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that delays in discharging patients had a knock-on effect right back to when someone calls 999 for an ambulance.

If wards are full, it means new patients are left waiting for beds - in the worst cases in hospital corridors. It also delays ambulance staff from delivering new arrivals, meaning paramedics cannot respond to other calls.

A snapshot audit carried out at BVH by the Emergency Care Improvement Programme found 28 per cent of patients had been inappropriately admitted to hospital, 20 per cent could have gone home earlier and 12 per cent could have been sent to ambulatory emergency care, which is where a patient is diagnosed and treated in the same day without having to be admitted overnight.

Now the hospital is introducing its Better Care Now plan in a bid to get patients discharged more quickly where it is appropriate to do so.

Aims includes discharging a third of patients by mid-day, and holding weekly reviews of all long-stay patients.

More senior decision-makers including consultants will be present during the admissions process and in the emergency department.

A combined ambulatory unit will be used to treat up to 20 patients a day who might otherwise have been admitted.

Professor O'Donnell said staying too long in hospital was often a bad thing, particularly for elderly patients who were at risk of falling, picking up infections or becoming confused.

He said: "If we get it right it has to be good for the patient and the health economy and the running of the system, but it has to be good for the staff as well.

"An inappropriately long length of stay is not just an inconvenience to members of the publc, but it is a 'harm' and noboby came into health care for that reason.

"We need to change our mindset from 'the hospital is the place to be' to 'home is the place to be', as very few people want to be in hospital."