There were up to 75 per cent fewer patients waiting for discharge on any one day across Norfolk this winter, following the introduction of a “capacity plan” to reduce bed blocking across the county.

Norfolk PCT, two acute trusts, and the local authority worked together to produce the plan at the end of last summer, and it was implemented across Norfolk for the first time this winter.

The number of patients waiting for discharge at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, was monitored daily, and every day there were between 50 per cent and 75 per cent fewer patients who had received clinical sign off, but were still waiting to leave their hospital bed, compared with last winter.

Among the measures introduced to improve discharge were:

  • 50 extra beds commissioned at community hospitals by Norfolk Community Health and Care, the PCT’s provider arm
  • 75 more beds provided by Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services for discharge planning
  • Norfolk First Support, provided by the local authority, which maximises patients’ independence
  • daily co-operation and co-ordination between the NHS and adult social services.

Norfolk Community Health and Care director of service pathways Anna Morgan said it had implemented the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s Productive Community Hospital programme, and a discharge planning pathway, to help cut delayed discharges.