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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Cheshire East takes great strides to reduce bed blocking in hospitals


Cheshire East hospital patients are among the least likely to be delayed being allowed home – according to national figures.

Statistics for October 2017 put Cheshire East top out of 151 local authority areas in England for avoiding ‘bed blocking’ – the term used to describe delays to people being discharged from hospital due to a lack of suitable NHS services or social care to support patients in the community. Figures for November also ranked the authority 85th out of 151 for performing well.

Cheshire East is also bucking the regional and national trend, which saw 89 out of 151 councils missing their target for beds being ‘blocked’ due to delayed transfers of care.

The ‘top table’ performance shows Cheshire East Council and its health partners in the NHS are working well together to provide the care that people need.

Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “This is excellent news for patients and their families as no one wants to be in hospital longer than is absolutely necessary. These new figures highlight how health staff and our care teams are working effectively together to improve outcomes for inpatients and freeing up vital beds for those awaiting hospital care.

“This is especially important during winter – when there is increased pressure on our hospitals. However, there can be no room for complacency and we know there is still work to be done to ensure better joined-up working between hospitals and the council’s care teams to ensure hospital beds are used efficiently and effectively to be available for those most in need.

“This collaborative work with our NHS colleagues is part of our joint commitment to provide the right care in the right place at the right time. As with wider adult social care support, we know that most people want to be cared for and supported at home – where practicable – and we are working with our health partners to achieve this and give people greater choice.

“As winter continues to really pinch, we also need all members of the public to play their part in helping us achieve this, by using A&E services wisely and using alternatives, where appropriate for less serious health matters, so as not to unduly burden our under-pressure emergency teams.”

Cheshire East’s performance in the latest reports is the result of new arrangements between hospitals and other care providers for planning the discharge of patients who are likely to have ongoing care and support needs after a hospital stay.

John Wilbraham, chair of the Eastern Cheshire A&E Delivery Board and chief executive of East Cheshire NHS Trust, said: “This good national ranking is a reflection of the Cheshire East health and social care systems working together to provide improved services for people.

“For advice on warding off winter ailments and choosing the right care at the right time, visit www.easterncheshireccg.nhs.uk and search for ‘stay well this winter’.”

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the Central Cheshire A&E Delivery Board, said: “Teams at Leighton Hospital have been working incredibly hard alongside local partners to ensure our patients do not stay in hospital for longer than they need to. As a result, our delayed transfers of care (DToC) rate has recently been the lowest it has ever been and at one stage was the best in the country.

“It’s pleasing to see the success of this collaborative working and, more importantly, that it is benefitting patients.”

Targets for reducing DToCs were introduced this year by the Department of Health and Department for Communities and Local Government to encourage the NHS and local government to work better together to reduce the number of people remaining in hospital because of health-related or social-care related delays.

Each month, local authorities receive their ranking regarding health and social care partner working together to reduce DToCs. Cheshire East was ranked top in October and 35th in September.

More information about staying well this winter can be found on the council’s website under Winter Wellbeing at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell

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