Every year winter comes and winter goes and every effort is made to ensure that during this very pressurised time we continue to provide people with the best possible care.
A number of schemes have been put in place to support ASPH and the wider north west Surrey system in responding to the winter surge in demand for our services.
Development of the UTC
The new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) was opened on 1st November. The service is GP-led and has been treating a substantial proportion of patients, as well as streaming patients directly to the correct specialist unit in the hospital. This is helping to alleviate pressure in the main A&E department making sure that patients are treated in the right environment and by the right specialist for their condition.
Community hospital “Step Up” beds
Walton and Woking Community Hospitals now have six dedicated beds for patients who do not require full admission into an acute hospital bed. Patients can be referred by their GP or the community health teams and will be able to access the appropriate support to get them back home as quickly as possible. This keeps acute hospital beds free for those patients that really need them.
Falls prevention scheme
The ‘Falls in the Community’ Admission Avoidance Scheme will support a Community Crisis approach to falls in the community and subsequently address prevention and management to decrease risk of future falls. In doing so, it will improve experiences and outcomes for not only the patient but also their families and carers.
Enhanced Health in Care Homes
We are utilising the extensive experience of care homes in collaboration with some specialist services to help us relieve the pressure this winter;
- As part of the medicines optimisation in care homes programme pharmacy technicians have been recruited, managed by pharmacists, to ensure regular and timely medication reviews are undertaken for care home residents.
- The Locality Hubs provide a proactive and reactive service to care homes and their residents which supports suitable discharge and reduces readmission.
Care Home Advice Line
Care UK’s Care Home Advice Line across Surrey Heartlands was established during winter 17/18 and will continue this year. The Advice Line is run by Care UK and provides rapid access clinical advice to health care professionals and non-professional staff across Surrey Heartlands Care Homes.
Extended GP Access
This has now been successfully implemented and provides a range of services in core with extended hours at five hub locations across north west Surrey, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. GP appointments can be accessed in two ways: booked via the patient’s usual GP practice and/or booked via a digital app called LIVI. They provide digital consultations between 8am and 8pm during the week and 9am to midday on the weekends. Patients can download the app and book a GP appointment (following a digital symptom check and assessment of the appropriateness of the service) without the need to call their GP practice. www.livi.co.uk
Staff Flu Vaccinations
Flu prevention remains a priority this winter and we are again providing vaccinations onsite for all staff. We have currently vaccinated around half of all our staff and will actively and will continue to actively promote this in the Trust.