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Improving unplanned patient care - test site success

11 October 2012

Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been successful in its application to become the first test site in the country for improving unplanned care – the types of care or treatment provided to people if they have an emergency, urgent or unexpected health problem.

Throughout the country, the demand for urgent care is at an all time high. Health communities are working hard to introduce different solutions but their efforts appear to be having little impact on the ever increasing pressures being put on urgent healthcare services.

Under direction from Professor Sir Mike Richards at the Department of Health, NHS Improvement, which tests, implements and sustains quantifiable improvements in the NHS, has chosen Derby Hospitals to work in a new, innovative ‘Emergency Care Partnership’.

Derby was selected over 20 other hospitals because of its commitment to improving clinical services and its leadership in service transformation. The partnership will help support Derby’s current transformation plans, providing additional expertise to improve urgent healthcare services at no additional cost to the local health community.

The Partnership runs for six months from September 2012 and will focus onreducing unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital and reduce the unnecessary length of time patients have to stay in hospital.

The Partnership will test (to prove or disprove) the following hypothesis:

“Taking a whole pathway approach to emergency/urgent care, 25% of unnecessary bed days can be reduced, length of stay can be reduced by 10-50% dependent on speciality for 80% of patients, with demonstrable improvements in patient experience and outcomes.”

If this is proved the benefits are likely to be far reaching for both patients and the NHS as a whole. With better use of hospital resources, more patients could be treated and waiting times could be shorter. It could also mean better care and experience for patients, making for a quicker recovery.

Work carried out could inform national policy driving improvements in unplanned care across the whole NHS, and it’s expected healthcare professionals from across the country and possibly beyond will visit Derby Hospitals to learn about what’s happening here.

Helen Scott-South, chief operating officer at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The development of the Emergency Care Partnership, looking at how to improve care in emergency or unplanned situations, is very good news for NHS patients in Derby. We are naturally delighted to have been chosen as the only test site in the country and we are looking forward to working with NHS Improvement to improve unplanned care services in Derby.”