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MKUH Launches Hospital Navigator Scheme to support vulnerable patients

The Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS FT (MKUH) has launched the Hospital Navigator Scheme aimed at supporting their most vulnerable patients. These patients include those who may have been admitted to the hospital as a result of serious violence and domestic abuse incidents.

They are working in collaboration with Thames Valley Police, who reported a rise in these particular incidents in those under 25. The scheme will help patients arriving at hospital due to existing substance abuse, mental health issues, poor diet, or personal care or violence itself.

This will involve a team of volunteers in the emergency department (ED) who will offer advice and support to the patients. YMCA Milton Keynes will assist patients requiring specialist support, making sure there is appropriate support available in the community beyond ED help.

It hopes to ensure that patients receive the right support and mentoring, to prevent the likelihood of future incidents occurring, where patients would be revisiting the hospital. Other benefits include delivering an impartial approach and navigating the patient to alternative options, providing rapid intervention to identified issues, and gaining an understanding of the patient’s goals, helping them self-identify options.

Nadean Marsh, Head of Nursing for Safeguarding and Quality at MKUH, said: “The Hospital Navigator Scheme is a fantastic example of how taking a multi-agency, coordinated approach is able to deliver the right care to some of the most vulnerable patients who present at our ED.

“Our team of volunteers are specifically trained to understand how to firstly identify a patient that has been a victim of abuse, and then provide the appropriate support that individual requires.

“Through working closely with our teams in the community, particularly at the YMCA MK, we can help to ensure patients get the right support that they need and avoid the possibility of them returning to the hospital as a result of similar incidents.”

There are five other NHS trusts in the Thames Valley area taking part in Hospital Navigator schemes, with most of it funded and coordinated by the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit – a partnership body focused on tackling violence and the root causes.

This scheme follows on from a substantial rise in ED admissions across the country due to serious violence.

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NHE May/June 2024

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