New ‘Transfer of Care hub’ stepping-up hospitals’ efforts to get patients home for Christmas

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2022 3:56 PM

New ‘Transfer of Care hub’ stepping-up hospitals’ efforts to get patients home for Christmas

A multiagency team focused on getting patients discharged from three local hospitals as soon as they have received the vital treatment they need are stepping-up their efforts to get patients home in time for Christmas.

Those efforts are being increased after NHS figures revealed there have been an average of 115 who had remained under the care of Sherwood Forest Hospitals each day in December for over 24 hours after they had been certified by a doctor as being medically fit to leave hospital.

The figures relate to Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community Hospitals, as well as its Sherwood Community Unit site – a former care home which the Trust has converted to care for more patients.

Those challenges are why a multiagency ‘Transfer of Care Hub’ is looking to reduce the time that people are waiting for their onward care, in an effort to get as many patients discharged from hospital to wherever they call home in time for Christmas and New Year.

The new Hub, which is based at Sutton-in-Ashfield’s King’s Mill Hospital, opened in October and has already helped to oversee the discharge of hundreds of patients from hospital.

The Hub sees partners from Nottinghamshire County Council’s adult social care team working alongside colleagues from Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Nottinghamshire Healthcare, Mansfield District Council and others to help speed-up the discharging of patients from the Trust’s hospitals.

It is hoped the move will further improve the already well-established working relationships and efficiency between the organisations, enabling them to focus on getting patients discharged to patients’ homes, local care homes and other community settings sooner – ideally on the same day they become medically fit to leave hospital.

Rachel Eddie, Chief Operating Officer at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Demand for NHS services remains high across the county right now and every hospital bed really does count when it comes to ensuring patients can access the healthcare they need as quickly as possible.

“Once patients have received that vital medical attention, we know that hospitals aren’t the best place for them to continue their longer-term recovery.

“That’s why it’s so important we do all we can to work alongside our partners to help discharge patients as quickly as possible to enable our NHS teams to focus on providing hospital care to those who really do need it most.

“We are delighted to welcome our partners to King’s Mill Hospital to continue the important work that I have no doubt will only benefit our patients, their families and the hardworking people who care for them.”

On an average day between Thursday 1 and Sunday 18 December, 115 patients had been medically fit to be discharged from across the Trust’s sites for over 24 hours each day.

The Hub has been setup to help support patients like Andrew Bellamy, 66, from Mansfield. He has been discharged from hospital in time for Christmas after spending four days in hospital after receiving treatment for flu.

"The staff have been very good,” Andrew said. “I can't fault them for everything they've done for me but I'm so pleased to be going home in time for Christmas. I'm looking forward to being able to enjoy it with my family." 

Colleagues from Nottinghamshire County Council are part of the Discharge Hub, as they work to liaise with the relevant services outside of the hospital to support discharges and look at patients’ short- and longer-term care needs.

Colleagues from Mansfield District Council work as part of the Hub to understand and make the changes that patients need to enable them to return home – including something as simple as installing bath, shower and stair rails.

Jill Finnesey, Head of Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: “The council has been pleased to support King’s Mill Hospital with the safe discharge of medically fit patients through our ASSIST Hospital Discharge scheme and we have been working hard to ensure as many people are home for Christmas as possible.

“Since it was set up in 2014, ASSIST Hospital Discharge has helped hundreds of people, by both preventing admissions to hospital and expediting their discharge from it through a variety of housing-based resolutions.

“Sometimes it can be a complex situation that needs to be addressed which could involve rehousing someone. In other cases, it can be a relatively simple housing adaptation, a lifeline or key safe installation or a support service that makes the difference between someone being able to leave hospital and return home, or not.”

Nottinghamshire Healthcare also form a vital part of the team to support patients with offering community care and other support to enable them to return home sooner. 

Keeley Sheldon, Executive Director of Community Health Services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, says: “It’s fantastic that this multi-agency hub is up and running as it’s vitally important that patients can be discharged safely from hospital into specialist community services to support their healthcare needs as soon as they are ready. 

“Not only will the hub relieve pressure on our busy local hospitals, but we know that when patients are being treated where they call home, it can have a hugely positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Hopefully this means we’ll be able to get more people home for Christmas with the right care in place.”

Demand for NHS services remains high across the country right now: Here’s what you can do to help…

  • Only call 999 or attend accident and emergency departments for serious accidents and for genuine emergencies.
  • When you need urgent medical care but it’s not an emergency, please visit NHS 111 online or call NHS111 for advice on how to get the care you need at any time of day or night.
  • Urgent treatment centres – like the ones in Newark, Nottingham and Ripley – can help you get the care you need for dealing with the most common issues that people attend emergency departments for. They will often be able to help you get the care you need more quickly than accident and emergency departments if you are suffering from things like a burn or a sprain.
  • We know that most patients want to return home as soon as possible, especially at this time of year. If your relative is due to be discharged from hospital and needs to be collected, please do so as early as possible to free up hospital beds for someone waiting to be admitted.
  • For other non-urgent cases when you need medical advice and it’s not an emergency, please speak to your GP practice or a pharmacist.