BOSSES at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth hope a new way of assessing patients will ease the pressure on A&E by reducing the number of so-called ‘bed-blockers’.
The ‘integrated discharge service’ will start assessing patients sooner, so care plans can be in place when people are ready to leave hospital.
Now patients are only assessed for what community health care they may need after their hospital stay when they are fit to be discharged.
That means patients can spend days waiting for their care packages and taking up a bed, known as bed-blocking.
That can lead to patients coming in through A&E who do not always have somewhere to go.
The plan was unveiled at a Portsmouth health overview and scrutiny panel meeting.
Suzanne Hogg, lead for the integrated discharge services work stream, said: ‘Rather than us waiting for patients to become medically fit, after which there are delays in accessing the right support services, we’re bringing that process right back to when they become assessment-fit.
‘That way, the right conversations can be had with community services and, by the time the patient is ready to be discharged, the care package should be in place.
‘It will help prevent unnecessary hospital stays.’
She added that for some patients such as the elderly, staying in hospital when they do not need to can make their situation worse.
The integrated discharge service is part of the systems resilience group, which is designed to help A&E reach its national targets.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond welcomed the change.
She said: ‘The trust is strengthening its team to look at the process of patient discharge and continuing care. That is very welcome.
‘Though it’s important that people get the best care in any hospital, it’s also important that they get continuing support if they need it at home while they recover.
‘The changes being made should avoid people having to stay in QA while that support is arranged.
‘The response of the trust management to the challenges QA faces is encouraging, and they are treating an increasing number of patients at the same time.’