Working hard to improve patient flow

I WAS interviewed by the BBC this week in relation to the Trust’s performance into so called “trolley waits’’ which is a phrase often used to describe the wait patients have once a decision has been made to admit them to a hospital bed.

It is fair to say the Trust’s figures in this area, despite the best efforts of all our staff have not been great and we all acknowledge that we do have to do better. We know we have some very specific problems in Blackpool in terms of the area’s deprivation levels, which have once again highlighted this week, and a growing elderly population with increasingly complex health needs.

But we also know we need to work better as a combined health and social care system and that is why I am so pleased that the Safer Blackpool project that I mentioned last week is seeing some good early results with some real support from partners in social services and other areas such as mental health.

In essence the main thing we all need to do together is improve patient flow and I am really glad to see that there are a lot of initiatives taking place to help this with a concerted effort to improve flow through the hospital by implementing earlier discharges, and closely monitoring this.

As a Trust we are investing heavily in additional staff – nursing, medical and management – to address delays and we are making our emergency department more efficient with a new model where ambulatory and GP referred patients bypass the emergency department and are assessed by an acute physician.

From next week we will have a dedicated frailty assessment area where an MDT will see the patient and where possible discharge, with appropriate support, on the same day which links in well with the Safer Blackpool work.

Elsewhere we are trialling a Care Home finding service to help patients and families find a the best solution when this is necessary and have the Single Point of Discharge scheme in four wards now which provides support to enable safe and timely discharge for patients requiring support after going home.

One thing I would really like to encourage is the Home First service so patients don’t have to stay in hospital for assessments for social needs or therapy, when they could be done at home. I am really impressed with all the work that is going on to ensure we improve patient flow because it really is something that has an effect on the quality of care we deliver and patient safety levels so please keep up the good work.

Protecting our staff

THANKFULLY, NHS Staff are generally well-loved, appreciated and respected by our patients and indeed, society as a whole. Sadly though, there are still far too many occasions where staff are subject to violence and/or abuse as we go about our work. That is, quite simply, not on.

We take the safety and dignity of our staff extremely seriously and I am glad to see that the government is now prioritising this and strengthening its resolve to tackle the issue.

Secretary of State Matt Hancock wrote to all NHS staff this week outlining the plans and you can see that here. However, as always, please ensure you report any, and all, incidents of abuse or violence so they can be dealt with. It is not part of your job to take such abuse, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

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