Co-ordination crucial for winter health plan to work

Discharging  patients from hospital relies on a support system at home.
Discharging patients from hospital relies on a support system at home.

For the Borders 2016 winter health plan to work, there will have to be better co-ordination between social work and hospital discharge teams, it has been admitted.

Over the past two years, the length of time that patients were delayed in being discharged from hospital was the cause of significant pressure on hospital services during the winter months.

“A major part of the delays in admitting patients over the winter period last year was due to patients being discharged late in the day and a reduction in discharges at weekends,” says a report that went before the Borders health and social care integration joint board this week. That report will be formally approved by the NHS Borders board next week and then submitted to the Scottish Government.

“The aim of the winter plan is to improve co-ordination of actions to rapidly and safely establish discharge arrangements for patients with complex discharge needs,” it says.

“This will result in an average reduction of two days in the length of stay for patients referred to the discharge hub.

“This will have the effect of reducing demand by the equivalent of one hospital bed a day.”

Hospital discharge delays are not just an issue during the winter months, though.

At last month’s Coldstream Community Council meeting, Mid Berwickshire councillor Frances Renton said: “In August, there were 30 delayed discharges from hospital.”

, only two were SBC home care clients.”