• Community provider chief executives asked to help reduce delayed discharges over winter
  • NHS Improvement sets out six “expectations” for trusts to implement over next six months
  • Regulator to convene a meeting of community provider leaders on 27 November

NHS Improvement has written to the chief executives of all trusts providing community services setting out actions they must implement to reduce delayed transfers of care over winter.

In a letter sent yesterday, seen by HSJ, NHSI chief executive Jim Mackey said the trusts must help improve delayed discharges over winter and listed six actions they need to carry out in the next six months.

jim mackey

Source: Neil O’Connor

Jim Mackey: ‘We are working with all NHS trusts to ensure they are prepared for winter’

The letter said: “It is vital for the patients under our care and for the efficient running of our services that you, together with your boards, prioritise reducing delays in discharge of the coming months.

“This will require both action within your organisation and working across your local system to improve flow throughout the entire patient journey…

“Underpinning all of this is a need to ensure the whole organisation has an operational focus to reduce delays faced by patients, thereby improving the care they experience…

“We know that many providers have a very strong focus on operations but we have also seen significant variation across the sector in the priority afforded to this issue.”

Mr Mackey set out six “expectations” for the next six months and highlighted three areas of “best practice” in relations patient flow.

The six actions providers need to implement

  1. Facilitate the sharing of patient data with acute and social care partners and from 7 November ensure daily situation reports are completed “to enable better understanding of community services at a national level”.
  2. Jointly assess discharge pathways with local partners including “being an active participant in the local acute provider’s discharge and hosting operational discussions daily where necessary to discharge patients in community settings”.
  3. Develop “discharges hubs” over the next six months and beyond, designed to be a single point of access for patients moving between acute and community services.
  4. Ensure a “robust patient choice policy” is implemented.
  5. Clarify to partner organisations what services the trust offers to patients.
  6. Ensure collection of patient flow data and data on plans to improve patient flow.

Mr Mackey also called a meeting of the service leaders on 27 November.

In statement to HSJ, Mr Mackey said: “We are working with all NHS trusts to ensure they are prepared for winter, this includes targeted work with community providers to help reduce the number of patients waiting in hospital beds who could be better cared for in the community or at home.

“This best practice guidance, which was designed with providers, will help them to work more effectively with social care colleagues and other providers, and reduce the pressure faced by acute and emergency care providers.”