Plans to Tackle Increase in Hospital Transfer Delays and A&E Admissions 

THE LATEST national figures show a marked increase in both unplanned admissions via A&E and in the delay in transferring people from hospital, compared to previous years, an issue mirrored locally in Reading.

October 2016 saw a staggering 25 per cent rise across the country in patients experiencing unnecessary days in hospital, combined with alarming increases in demand for Accident & Emergency services.

Two reports going before the Health and Wellbeing Board (27 January), the ‘A&E Delivery Board & Improvement Plan’ and the ‘Oversight of Integration, including BCF Performance Report’, emphasis the pressures faced by the NHS and adult social care in Reading and set out the measures being taken to the address these challenges.

Increased demand for services and hospital discharge delays arise for a number of reasons. The winter period is a particularly pressurised time for health services since the cold exacerbates many health conditions, especially amongst the elderly, whose recovery times can be longer. This is also combined with the effect of the increasingly ageing population and the growth in chronic illness amongst the general population.

The Council works hard with its partners in the NHS to help people leave hospital as soon as they are ready and to ensure no one is in hospital for longer than they have to be. However, this is not something any one organisation can tackle alone. It is vital for all partners to work together to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and help people get out when they do have to go in.

Through the Better Care Fund (BCF), the Council and the local NHS aim to progress the development of an integrated hospital discharge team. A number of neighbouring authorities have successfully implemented integrated teams and are already seeing good results.

All organisations are working together to highlight the important role of GPs and other primary health providers in helping to reduce the growth in unplanned and unnecessary admissions to A&E.

Residents are reminded to take-up the free flu vaccine if they fall within the most at risk groups and if they are unsure on the best course of action, if it is not a life threatening accident or emergency, to call 111 for advice.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health, said:

“The Council and its partners in the NHS have a joint responsibility to tackle these issues. This is a whole system issue and requires a whole system response. Only by collaborating closely can we take this challenge forward. I am hopeful that through our partnership working within the framework of the Better Care Fund, we can put a plan of action in place.

“However, this is set against the national backdrop of increasing government cuts affecting both the NHS and local government. Cross-sector calls from professional bodies, charities, care providers, independent experts and leading figures in the NHS continue to express grave concern at the NHS and social care funding crisis. We will continue to lobby at a national level for a better deal for Reading residents.”

Cllr Rachel Eden, Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“No one wants to be in hospital for longer than they have to. I’m proud of the vital work Reading’s social care team do supporting people to live independently and which also helps to reduce the pressure facing the NHS.

“However, as both the national stats and these Reading reports suggest, this is not something any one organisation can tackle alone. It’s really important for all partners to work together to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and help people get out when they do have to go in.”

The full reports can be viewed at: (Items 12 and 13)

Notes for Editors:

* Stats quoted from the BMA:

There has been an increase in the over 65s (about 8%) population and people are living longer with long terms health conditions. The over 65 population is expected to rise steadily in Reading, with a notable rise in the over 85 population. By 2020, the Council predicts that 25% of people who pay for their own care are likely to have run out of funds and will therefore be eligible to have their care paid for by the Council.

Better Care Fund

The Better Care Fund (BCF) is a programme spanning both the NHS and local government. It has been created to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, placing them at the centre of their care and support, and providing them with ‘wraparound’ fully integrated health and social care, resulting in an improved experience and better quality of life. The BCF takes the form of a local, single pooled budget that aims to fund ways that the NHS and local government throughout England can work more closely together.

Victoria Nickless

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