SOME of the plans that aim to reduce A&E waiting times have been revealed to The News.
Following a meeting with MPs, NHS trusts and councils, it was agreed that each needs to make changes to tackle the number of people turning up for emergency treatment at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
They agreed to tackle bed-blocking at the hospital so more patients could be admitted when needed.
Solent NHS Trust provides community and mental health services for Portsmouth.
It said it wants to spend more money on getting patients who are ready to leave hospital out and into their home or in a community health centre.
Sarah Austin, director of strategy, said: ‘We want to have extra capacity so we can both prevent admission and speed up discharge, by being quickly in the patient’s home, putting together a six-week package of care same day.
‘We want to continue our pilot which picks up elderly patients whose needs are complex and organises for them to go home without admission.
‘We hope to have extra physiotherapy support into the medical assessment unit, continue our pilot which has community nurses going into wards and identifying those who could come home, and improve turnaround for equipment that can a cause a delay.’
Portsmouth City Council, which runs adult social services, said it hopes its Better Care scheme will help.
The council, along with Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, is hoping to pool funds and spend £16.8m on older people’s care.
Julian Wooster, strategic director for the council, said: ‘We recognise one of the ways in which pressure will be eased on A&E is to reduce the number of people needing emergency treatment.
‘We, along with the Portsmouth CCG, will be investing in Better Care.
‘Our approach is to do more to prevent an individual having a crisis where hospital becomes their only option.
‘This means joined-up health and social care support for our most vulnerable residents, including frail older people, and those with long-term conditions or social care needs.
‘Where we don’t prevent hospital admissions, we then jointly support people to leave hospital as soon as they are well enough with the right support in place for them to continue to recover after discharge.’
In a statement South Central Ambulance Service did not explain any action it would take but said: ‘We have a healthcare system-wide action plan and we are committed to working with the rest of the healthcare system to improve care for our patients, constantly striving to ensure that each patient receives the right clinical treatment in the right place based on their clinical needs.’
Other organisations involved include Hampshire County Council and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust which were unable to provide their plans.
Pressure is on all involved to reduce waiting times
MPs have vowed to ensure they hold regular meetings with all involved to bring down A&E waiting times.
QA has been failing to meet the national government target of seeing, treating, or discharging 95 per cent of patients in four hours.
On average the hospital sees 10 patients an hour in A&E but earlier this week an ‘unprecedented’ peak meant 30 people an hour were turning up.
Demand saw ambulances queuing up outside QA, and the hospital said six patients were sent to Southampton General. And 10 non-urgent operations were cancelled in order to meet the demand coming in from A&E.
Last week MPs held a crisis meeting to talk about the situation and local GP commissioning groups, which are in charge of funding for QA, have put in a bid for £4m to the government to ease the long-running problems.
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘We will be speaking to each organisation involved to ensure they are doing what they can do ease pressure.’
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust provides community health care for the county
Dr Chris Gordon, the chief operating officer and director of integrated care for the trust, said: ‘We are increasing the in-reach from our community teams into hospital services to identify patients who can be effectively cared for within our community teams and we are working with our partners to improve the planning of care packages to include additional support from community health services.
‘In addition we are implementing a rapid response team which includes nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers from Hampshire County Council adult services.
‘These professions will work together as a single team to help support patients coming out of hospital earlier, providing assessment and rehabilitation to frail older people.
‘This work is already underway with a view to the rapid response team being up and running as soon as possible to support the whole system.
‘Where we have already implemented practices to address these issues we are starting to see some real benefits and outcomes and are dedicated to continuing to work with our partners to ensure that the hospital and community services can work together to provide effective, safe services for those we care for.’