Trust among the best for older care

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trusts chief executive David Evans.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trusts chief executive David Evans.

A health trust has been singled out as one of the best in the country for discharging older people from hospital in a safe and timely maner.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive David Evans highlighted their work at a recent House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts.

The committee, which said the trust had one of the best records on discharging older patients anywhere in the country, highlighted the long-standing relationship with Northumberland County Council and the fully-integrated approach to managing patients’ every care need.

National figures show the number of delayed transfers for older people increased by 31 per cent between 2013 and 2015. The committee highlighted that in Northumbria the number of delayed transfers of care in 2015/16 was only ten days, compared to almost 18,000 days in other parts of the country.

The committee also heard that access to GP patient records was a vital part of being able to plan patients’ care and discharge.

Mr Evans said: “We have an excellent track-record of working across traditional organisational boundaries and realising the benefits of integration.

“At all times, our primary focus is our patients and providing the very best care in the best location.

“Whilst we always try to avoid people coming into hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary, if patients do require a hospital stay, it’s about planning their discharge as early as possible.”

“Key to this is involving our community and social care teams while the patient is in hospital to ensure that, when they do go home, it is as seamless as possible and all the care and support they need to manage at home is in place.

“It’s so important that patients are able to go home when they’re medically fit and it’s also about making sure that services are available seven days a week so there is no disruption to services over a weekend for example.”

He added: “While we are leading the way nationally in this work, we fully recognise that there is always more we can do to integrate care further to benefit our patients.

“Our work with health and social care partners to pioneer new models of care is hugely exciting and will ensure that patients in our area remain at the forefront of integration.”