[U]niversity Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has been allocated over £2m of additional funding to help deal with the increased pressures on its hospitals during the winter months.
The winter resilience funding allocated to the Trust for 2017/18 adds up to £2,009,000 of which £909,000 is assigned to existing costs already incurred as part of the Trust’s winter resilience plan.
Foluke Ajayi, Chief Operating Officer at UHMBT said: “We are pleased to receive this additional funding to help ensure we can treat our patients in the best place as quickly as possible during the pressured winter months. Some of the funding we’ve received will cover costs we have already incurred as part of our winter plan and the remaining £1.1m will be allocated for new schemes across our hospitals.
“These schemes include additional social care capacity in the hospital and community to help support discharge. The work will focus on discharging patients earlier but with the appropriate care support. Patients will be discharged into their own home or intermediate care facility where they will have an assessment of their long term needs. This assessment currently occurs in the hospital and by introducing this model of working known as discharge to assess, it means we can get patients home quicker and free up hospital beds to treat patients who are acutely ill.
“We will also fund additional beds at nursing homes in the community in Cumbria and Lancashire to facilitate assessment and provision of ongoing care needs for the more dependent patients who will require longer term residential or nursing home support but are medically optimised and fit to be discharged. They will receive the appropriate support in that facility pending completion of their needs assessment and a permanent care home is identified. This will usually be for a period of up to four weeks. We are in the process of discussing potential locations for these beds with potential providers and we hope they will be in place from early 2018.
“We’re also planning to fund extra capacity in our hospitals, for example, providing additional out of hours cover in the Primary Care Assessment Service (PCAS), at Westmorland General Hospital, additional medical cover on hospital wards, and additional patient transport vehicles to support the discharge of patients.”
UHMBT’s hospitals, along with many others across the country, continue to be under significant pressure and these measures are being taken with the focus on building improved resilience during busy winter months.
Foluke concluded: “Whilst this funding will help us see and treat patients quicker, the public can also help us keep our staff free to treat those in serious need of medical care by only attending our Emergency Departments in serious or life-threatening circumstances. Whilst we will see and treat all patients who attend, there are those who could be better treated elsewhere. If you aren’t sure whether or not to attend the ED, please ring the NHS advice line on 111 who are trained to help. If you have a minor illness or injury that needs attention, you can visit your nearest pharmacist, Primary Care Assessment Centre, or speak to your GP. If you do attend, please be patient with staff who are doing their best in difficult circumstances.
“An emergency is a serious or life-threatening injury and condition, such as a suspected heart attack, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, chest pain, head injuries or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, then 999 should be called.
“If your friend or relative is medically fit to be discharged from hospital you can help facilitate their discharge by supporting them to settle in at home. This will also help to release pressures in the hospital.”
Details of pharmacy opening times and advice on caring for yourself and your family at home are available at www.nhs.uk/111 or http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/NHShospitals/Pages/leaving-hospital.aspx