latest health care news

17.07.17

Up to 3,000 beds must be freed up to deliver safe care this winter, warns NHSI

The NHS will need to free up 2,000 to 3,000 acute beds to be able to ensure safe, effective care is delivered this winter, NHS Improvement (NHSI) has stated.

In its review of the torrid winter the health service experienced over 2016-17, NHSI said that these bed spaces should be freed up by trusts through a reduction in delayed transfers of care (DTOCs).

However, two influential leaders from the NHS and local government were firmly at odds recently with the government’s decision to outline ‘expectations’ – in other words, targets – of how much areas will have to reduce the amount of delayed transfers of care (DTOCs) that occur in their interface between health and social care.

The report focused on five main themes that to improve the performance of trusts including system capacity, peaks in demand, variation in practice, NHS England/NHSI support alignment and creating a broader, more urgent and emergency care system.

It also stated that NHS partners needed to work with local government partners to ensure that there are enough resources available to maintain patient flow seven days a week and plan effectively for the predictable peaks in demand at weekends and bank holidays.

On top of that, NHSI also emphasised that there needed to be a renewed drive and focus to implement best practice across all systems to reduce variation in care across the country.

“The NHS faced a very challenging winter in 2016-17,” the report read. “National performance against the four-hour A&E standard dipped as low as 85.2% in January 2017. Some patients waited unacceptably long times in crowded A&E departments for admission to hospital.

“Other patients spent long periods in hospital when they were clinically ready for discharge. Hard-working frontline staff worked tirelessly under very significant pressures.

“Lessons from this winter need to be considered so as to shape action for future winters, improve patient care, reduce pressure on staff and deliver better performance.”

NHS Providers welcomed the report’s recommendations to focus on high bed occupancy and prepare for particular days when pressure is likely to be greatest.

“Last winter was very tough for the NHS,” said Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers. “For short periods of time some local services were overwhelmed. Front line staff showed fantastic commitment and professionalism in response to growing pressures, but the situation was unsustainable.

“Our recent Winter Warning report highlighted the importance of avoiding a narrow focus on hospital capacity, and ensuring we also invest in mental health, community and ambulance services as part of a wider programme to manage the extra pressures,” Cordery continued.

“Drawing on a survey and detailed discussions with trust leaders it found those from mental health and community trusts were particularly worried about their ability to meet winter demand. Those concerns are not sufficiently reflected in these recommendations. 

“Trusts urgently need to know where they stand so they can plan properly and secure the extra staff cost effectively. Time for action, including appropriate investment, is running short.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

Terry John, co-chair of the BMA & BDA Refugee Doctors and Dentists Liaison Group and chair of the union’s international committee, talks about a brilliant initiative that is proving mutual more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Make doing the right thing easy

11/10/2017Make doing the right thing easy

Kay Currie, professor of Nursing & Applied Healthcare Research, ‘... more >
STAR: an innovative app for speech therapy

11/10/2017STAR: an innovative app for speech therapy

Dr Stuart Cunningham, a senior lecturer in Human Communication Sciences at ... more >

interviews

Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the U... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

A new paradigm for public health

10/11/2017A new paradigm for public health

Heather Henry RN MBA, Queens nurse and chair of the New NHS Alliance looks into the issue of health inequality in the NHS. Health inequality is like the many-headed hydr... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

November 2017

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >