Community lounge hailed success to avoid A&E stays

Queen Alexandra Hospital
Queen Alexandra Hospital

Ambulances diverted as A&E sees patient rise

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MORE than 500 patients have been steered away from a hospital bed, and instead treated in the community.

Three health trusts are working together to ease pressure on Queen Alexandra Hospital’s casualty department.

The Community Assessment Lounge (CAxL) was set up in December last year.

Patients aged 65 and over, who go to the A&E department are assessed in the lounge, to see if they can be treated at home rather than taking up a hospital bed.

Between December 12, 2012, and May 31, 2013, 1,015 patients were seen in the lounge – with 584 of them being treated outside the hospital – creating a saving of £1.6m.

The scheme is a joint project between Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, and community health providers Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Trust.

Cate Leighton, a physiotherapy manager who is leading the project, said: ‘This is a perfect example of three trusts working together to make sure a patient is seen in the right place, at the right time, by the right people.

‘We are an oasis of calm, in the middle of the emergency department.

‘We see this continuing for the foreseeable future.’

The CAxL is open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm. Patients stay until suitable arrangements can be made to move them to community care.

Staff work with the community emergency department team, as well as A&E staff.

The service primarily supports those aged over 65, but if there is a patient aged 18 or over, who meets certain additional criteria, they may also be considered to use the facility.

‘Scheme to tackle bed blocking is impressive’: Read The News’ view on this issue