Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust has been chosen as a test site for a six-month project aiming to deliver significant improvements in emergency and urgent care.

The NHS Improvement project is being overseen by Department of Health national clinical director for cancer Sir Mike Richards and involves specialists redesigning pathways, particularly for cancer, diagnostics, heart, lung and stroke services.

It will test a hypothesis that a whole pathway approach to unplanned care will reduce stays. It is hoped unnecessary bed days will see a 25 per cent reduction, with four-fifths of patients seeing a fall in length of stay of 10-50 per cent, depending on the specialty overseeing their care.

The project will also aim for widespread improvements in patient experience and outcomes.

Heather Lockett, director of communications at NHS Improvement, told HSJ the hypothesis had been successfully tested in elective activity elsewhere but this was the first time it would be tested on unplanned care.

She said: “If we can prove the hypothesis and show it is possible there are huge gains for the NHS and for patients as well. The impact of that kind of improvement across the NHS would be significant.”

The project could prove vital in helping the NHS cope with the rising demand being experienced at accident and emergency departments across the country.

Derby was chosen over 20 other hospitals which bid to host the emergency care partnership which will run until March next year.

The trust’s chief operating officer Helen Scott-South said: “We are looking forward to working with NHS Improvement to improve unplanned care services in Derby.”