QA HOSPITAL in Portsmouth will have to meet tougher bed occupancy targets to ensure patients are not kept waiting this winter.
At this week’s health and wellbeing board councillors heard a plan to drastically improve last year’s bed-blocking statistics which saw an average of 250 patients waiting to be discharged from Queen Alexandra Hospital, which is run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
Sarah Austin, chief operating officer at the Solent NHS Trust, said: ‘In order for Portsmouth Hospitals to get through the next winter they need to have no more than 92 per cent bed occupancy. Last winter it was well over 100 per cent.
‘Our target is to have 49 patients kept in hospitals beds who could go home, which will reduce to 30 later in the year. Our ambition is to get there before the autumn starts.
‘It is a challenge and if Portsmouth Hospitals do their bit and we can get down to 92 per cent occupancy. All the data suggests that should see them with enough flexibility for a rotten winter.
‘At the moment figures fluctatue between Hampshire and Portsmouth hospitals with 140-170 patients occupying beds who could go home. It is important we can move people out who could be at home.’
The strategy comes as part of a county-wide initiative to move the focus of health and wellbeing away from hospitals and onto a more community and home-based model.
This includes improved communication between community health workers and GPs and hospitals by the use of a shared computer database known as SystmOne, and a triage contact for patients in need of physiotherapy. The scheme also aims to tackle people’s physical and mental wellbeing, with the emphasis on preventing hospital admissions by preventing illnesses.
Ms Austin added: ‘What we are trying to do is build a model where the reliance isn’t just responding to people coming out of hospital but building neighbourhood teams to stop people going in in the first place.’
Patrick Fowler from Healthwatch said: ‘It is great that there’s so much positive work going on in the community and homes of people.’
Cllr Leo Madden said: ‘It is definitely ambitious, which is a good thing. I would say “watch this space.”’