Published: 04/03/2004, Volume II4, No. 5895 Page 35

Despite evidence that poor patient flow management impacts on emergency and elective access targets and delayed discharge, it is underestimated in most acute trusts - as is the effect of good bed management.

Bed managers are required to juggle conflicting objectives - most prominently the competition for beds from elective and emergency streams, and unsynchronised flows of admissions and discharges.

The bed management programme, the UK's first tailored training package for bed managers, is funded by the Modernisation Agency's hospital operational intelligence project and Greater Manchester workforce development confederation.

It covers greater understanding of inpatient flows throughout an acute hospital, awareness of improvement initiatives, and personal and professional development, such as effective management skills and stress management.

The programme spans eight days over eight months and is led by lecturers from Manchester University's Institute of Science and Technology and NHS managers.

The project manager is responsible for facilitation, administration and support for participants, who receive certificates from the programme team and the Royal College of Nursing.

Julie Jorgensen is a matron, Stockport trust, and project manager of the bed management development programme, Greater Manchester strategic health authority.