EXTRA beds are to be introduced at Wigan Infirmary in a bid to ease its overwhelmed A&E department.
The 40 new places situated around the community in specialist care homes are one part of an emergency plan from NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group to help casualty which is facing a nigh unprecedented influx of patients.
These will enable A&E bosses to discharge patients sooner and enable them to get the help they need elsewhere.
A range of measures have also been commissioned to help with safe transfer out of hospital to home. A&Es are expected to have patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.
The CCG’s chief officer Trish Anderson said: “Wigan borough has joined up NHS and community services that provide care for people in their own home whenever possible so they stay close to family and friends and keep their independence.
“Together with people choosing the most appropriate NHS service, co-operation between the health and social care services to make sure people are safe when discharged hospital helps reduce pressure on A&E and has so far helped us avoid the problems encountered in hospital A&E departments in other parts of the UK.”
The contingency plan also includes bringing in two social workers to ensure safe discharge for patients from hospital back into the community.
Now there will be seven-day working for rehabilitation therapy services so it is less likely that people will have to be re-admitted into hospital. The hospital discharge team and the care home specialist team, which monitor patients with a high risk of health problems, will now have a seven-day week, again reducing the likelihood of patient re-admission.
Also a re-ablement package has been implemented. This provides help at home with up to four home visits a day. Age UK is working with GPs so older people can have extra amenities such as daily visits. This means in the last two weeks 10 patients who would’ve previously been admitted are cared for at home.
A 24-hour Sanctuary has launched enabling those with mental health problems to receive assessment who would otherwise have gone to A&E.
A new ambulance pathfinder system that rates the best place for the patient to be transported has also been implemented. Of 95 patients who the ambulance service assessed using this system in December, only three went to A&E whereas in the past all would have automatically ben admitted. And an integrated discharge team that include representatives from all services now meet daily to monitor discharge activity.