NGH arranging temporary care placements in care homes for patients fit for discharge

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Northampton General Hospital is working to arrange temporary placements in care homes for patients who are medically fit for discharge, but who are waiting for care in their own home or placement in a residential or nursing home.

The hospital is having to take this measure as it responds to extreme winter pressures.

Currently, it has more people than usual coming to A&E for care and treatment, several of which need admitting onto a ward.

Admitting patients onto ward areas in a timely manner has become difficult as many people on wards are waiting to move out to receive further care in residential and nursing homes or in their own house.

Once moved, patients will become the responsibility of the care home and will retain their right to choose a placement or care package of their while in temporary care.

Dr Sonia Swart, the chief executive officer at Northampton General Hospital, said: "We don’t as yet know how well this system will work or how may placements will be made available but we do know that to ensure that we can provide safe care for all the patients who need it we will need to double the number of patients with complex needs who are able to leave the hospital each day.

"And we also know that the services they require after these temporary placements will need to be increased as well.

"This measure will be funded from NHS additional winter funding announced in the government’s 2017/2018 budget."

In accordance with NHS England recommendations, NGH has reviewed its position regarding scheduled operations and procedures for the rest of the month.

Routine theatre operations scheduled for January will be cancelled with the exception of patients receiving treatment on the 52-week cancer pathway. Emergency life-threatening, and urgent cancer operation operations and procedures will go ahead.

The majority of outpatients and day case procedures and appointments will go ahead.

The hospital says it "will give as much notice as possible to those patients whose appointments are being cancelled" and, in some cases, will run clinics and theatres outside working hours (including weekends).

As well as reducing pressure on bed capacity, the cancellations will allow the hospital to deploy theatre staff to support the emergency department and wards.

Patients with a scheduled appointment should attend as requested if we haven't been in touch to cancel.

"As a result of sustained extreme pressures on our emergency department and our bed capacity, we have decided to implement a number of measures to help us to continue our focus on the safe care of our most seriously unwell patients," said Dr Swart.

"Our staff are doing an amazing job as they continue to prioritise care and as they continue to treat patients with dignity despite the obvious pressures on space.

"However, we have increasing concerns relating to the fact that patients are waiting too long and the numbers of patients requiring our help remains very high.

"We also want to be able to ensure that ambulances can continue to be offloaded quickly so that patients who need ambulances in the community can access them for life threatening conditions.

"We have been planning for a difficult time this winter and those plans have all been put in place but the measures have not been sufficient and the pressures this winter are more extreme than in other years.

"We are admitting more older and more unwell patients who are needing to spend more time in hospital than in previous years and we are having more difficulty finding appropriate care for them once they no longer need an acute hospital bed."