PERFORMANCE: A unique patient-tracking system has been introduced by Sussex Community Trust to help patients with learning disabilities in West Sussex get targeted specialist support on admission.

The computer-based tracking system, introduced this spring, flags up patients with learning disabilities, allowing them to receive immediate support from specialist Sussex Community Trust liaison nurses. 

The SCT hospital liaison nurses, in collaboration with Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, have developed the tracking system to allow hospital staff to see who has a learning disability among the current hospital patients. It is one of the first systems of its kind in the UK.

A team of three SCT hospital liaison nurses, working across West Sussex, offer specialist support and guidance to any patient with a learning disability attending a routine hospital appointment, a planned admission or when admitted via A&E.

The specialist nurses ensure the patient is supported during their appointment and help them and their carers understand any health advice or follow-up required. 

The liaison service is funded by West Sussex County Council and three clinical commissioning groups in West Sussex.

Corinne Nikolova, learning disabilities health facilitator at Sussex Community NHS Trust, said: “This specialist hospital liaison service is a very successful way to ensure a smooth and stress-free visit to hospital for our patients with learning disabilities.

“We’ve had very positive feedback from patients and clinical staff and we look forward to expanding the service to other areas across West Sussex.”

Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult services, said: “The development of this service is one of a range of initiatives, which have been made possible through the County Council and the NHS working more closely together to improve the health and well-being of adults with learning difficulties.”

A “hospital passport” has also been developed recently for patients with a learning disability and who may have communication problems.

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