NHS Organisations across the county have been planning for winter this year. As part of the wider arrangements, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has set up a number of schemes to increase capacity and meet the anticipated increase in demand. The main development is a new discharge suite which has opened today (21 December) at NNUH.
Richard Parker, NNUH Chief Operating Officer, said: “Demand for our services is consistently rising and we are especially busy at this time of year. We have put in place a number of schemes to improve the service to patients and our new discharge suite is the largest undertaking. It will provide a better experience for patients as they return home after a hospital stay which boost our capacity and is a key part of our winter preparations.”
Abi Tierney, Contract Director, from Serco which built the discharge suite, said: “Serco are really pleased to have had the opportunity to work with NNUH to create a better environment and better care for patients and staff. The quality of the facilities and the services that have been developed in such a short timescale, are testament to the incredible work of NNUH and Serco staff, and reflect the strong partnership between the organisations.”
The new Aylsham Discharge Suite has its own staffing, refreshments and comfortable facilities. It will help wards to discharge patients earlier in the day, freeing up beds in and enabling transfers from the Emergency Department. Operating seven days a week, it will accommodate up to 28 patients at a time as they get ready to leave hospital. There is a comfortable seating area, plus eight beds for patients who may need a bed to support their ongoing recovery. Patients will move to the new unit on the day of discharge, providing an enhanced environment whilst they wait for medication to take away, transport and any other last minute arrangements which may be required before going home.
NNUH has also set up a Winter Team which is a triumvirate of clinicians and managers to ensure our approach to Winter is co-ordinated in the best way possible. A Rapid Assessment and Treatment Service has also been set up as part of the hospital’s Emergency Department to accommodate patients who come to hospital by ambulance or who self present. The aim is to diagnose patients quickly and start their treatment before they move to another part of the Emergency Department or to a ward.
This will be followed by a new NNUH at Home service pilot scheme in January which will support patients to leave hospital as soon as they are clinically stable, enabling them to complete the remainder of their acute nursing/therapeutic care in the comfort of their own homes. NNUH will be working in partnership with HomeLink Healthcare and to deliver this service. Patients transferred to the NNUH at Home service will remain under the care of their hospital consultant until they are formally discharged by the hospital to their GP at the end of their agreed length of stay.