My trust, in line with national initiatives, is making arrangements with local nursing homes to use some of their spare capacity for carefully selected acute patients who are in the 'convalescing' stage of their care.

The idea is to transfer patients for up to four weeks and so to free acute beds.

I would be interested if any readers have experience of this sort of care and in particular how they might record the activity, if at all. Normally all acute episodes would be recorded on a hospital's computerised patient administration system, but these patients are a sort of 'hybrid' in that they are not under the direct care of the hospital's consultant medical staff, nor are they on our premises, but their stay in the nursing home is nevertheless 'NHS' rather than 'private' care.

A related issue is the treatment of elective patients whose surgery is carried out wholly at a private hospital.

Sarah Harley Acting head of information services United Lincolnshire Hospitals trust Pilgrim Hospital Sibsey Road Boston Lincs PE21 9QS 01205 364801 x2501 sarah.harley@ulh.nhs.uk