Generic photo of a patient in a hospital bed

NHS England backs framework as route to reduce hospital stay length

A framework agreement managed by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) which helps NHS trusts and hospitals acquire additional capacity from external providers has been recommended for use by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) as a solution to reducing the length of stay for people in hospital.

The national Patient Discharge Services Framework can be used to secure capacity from independent providers of ‘hospital at home’ and rehab services.

Use of this framework, NHSEI recommended in a letter to trusts, can be funded from the £588m hospital discharge ‘scheme two’ up until March 31, 2021.

As a pre-approved framework agreement, the Patient Discharge Services Framework can be used by NHS and other public sector organisations to commission support quickly and easily, reducing hospital bed occupancy and relieving pressure on inpatient services.

Across England, general and acute bed capacity is being routinely filled by patients staying two weeks or more and NHS systems have been pressed to find safe and appropriate ways to reduce patients’ length of stay in hospital.

The two lots on the framework which NHSEI specifically recommend in their newly-issued guidance are:

  • Discharge to Assess Services: to support the recovery and rehabilitation needs of those discharged home.
  • Medical Care at Home: to support a wide range of sub-acute health services in a person's home.

Sue Mason, Senior Clinical Adviser at NHS SBS, said: “This is a uniquely challenging time in the NHS and we are seeing significant pressure on hospital bed occupancy due to Covid-19.

“It is vitally important, therefore, that patients deemed medically fit for discharge can do so in a safe and timely manner, with the required support network available at point of need.

"The Patient Discharge Services Framework is designed to support this transition and prevent readmissions to hospital, by helping health and care providers to access extra capacity if required.

“The approved framework suppliers have the experience and capabilities to ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality care after being discharged from hospital.”

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