Wigan's anti-bed blocking success

Principal social worker Shona Speakman, Chris Broadbent and advanced practitioner social worker Andrea Phillips
Principal social worker Shona Speakman, Chris Broadbent and advanced practitioner social worker Andrea Phillips

The trust running Wigan’s hospitals has been named as one of the best in the country for discharging patients as soon as possible.

A new report published by the Department of Health and Social Care ranks Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust as the best in the North West and fourth best in the country for delayed transfers of care (DTOC).

This is when patients are medically fit to leave hospital but stuck in beds while preparations are made for their care upon discharge, sometimes known as bed-blocking.

Christopher Broadbent, directorate manager for integrated care, said: “For the past 18 months, the borough has seen a positive steady decline in DTOCs.

“A DTOC from acute or non-acute care (including community and mental health) occurs when a patient is ready to depart from such care and is still occupying a bed.

“The reason for this great achievement is due to joint working between health, social care and third sector organisations in the integrated discharge team (IDT) on the Wigan Infirmary site.

“Wigan has been the lowest reporter for DTOCs in the Greater Manchester area for some time now, but today we are celebrating being the best in the North West.”

The IDT was set up to address any barriers to people leaving hospital when they are medically well enough to be discharged.

It involves members of several organisations working together on one site to plan for the patients’ departure.

Mr Broadbent said: “The team at WWL, including our partners in the community, have been working on improving the safe flow of patients through the Wigan Infirmary site for the last two years.

“This is especially important for our most vulnerable patients, who require that extra bit of care to be put in place before they can safely return home or to a place where their needs can be most appropriately addressed.

“Therefore, a team has been set up to improve the situation, so patients can get the care they need as quickly as possible.

“One key part has been to get patients discharged as early in the day as possible once they are medically fit. They can then go home or to a place of care with all the support they need.”