Health professionals and patients talking outside of an NHS estate following a patient discharge

NHS winter planning continues as new patient discharge framework launches

Hospitals are set to receive more support when discharging patients thanks to the release of a new framework agreement from NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS).

The publication comes at a time when the health service is under particular pressure to streamline the patient discharge process.

During June alone, for example, the number of patients who had been deemed medically fit for discharge but remained in hospital was over 12,000 on an average day. Health Foundation analysis from the same month also showed that the NHS was forced to halve admissions due to a lack of beds.

With this in mind, the new framework enables providers to access virtual ward support, brokerage, and discharge to assess services; all of which can help the NHS optimise patient pathways.

                                                                      Video credit: Canva

The framework also includes a mental health step down care beds services offering – i.e., stop-gap care until a more permanent solution can be identified for those in need.

“Free to access, our ‘Patient Discharge and Mental Health Step Down Beds Services’ framework agreement is designed to support the transition of patients from hospital, reducing instances of pressure on acute hospital beds, Social Services and re-admissions,” said NHS SBS’s head of category for health, Elaine Alsop.

“In turn, this enables health and care providers free up capacity to deal with other patients, improve quality of care and health outcomes.”

She continued: “It provides a convenient, compliant and cost-effective means for NHS health and care providers, hospital trusts and Integrated Care Systems to use 12 carefully vetted suppliers at pace, ready for winter and beyond.”

The framework comes as the health service looks to ramp up its winter planning, most notably including the roll out of ‘traffic control’ centres that will help providers decide the best and fastest discharge options for patients.

Image credit: iStock

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