Plans to ease pressures on the health service in Bedfordshire next winter are well underway to minimise the impact on patients.
Attempts are being made to learn lessons from this winter, a Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group meeting heard.
“There continues to be pressure,” said Charlie Wood, the CCG’s programme director for planned and unplanned care, and mental health commissioning.
“You think you have a plan or resource, but you steadily get a more complex issue or extra demands. The winter plan is to alleviate that.”
Various aspects are thought through in advance, she explained, such as “referrals when accident and emergency is stacked up”.
She said one of the issues to be re-examined is winter readmissions at Bedford, and “remedial actions” will be considered around this.
GP Dr Chris Marshall, who was chairing the meeting said: “Going forward there needs to be future plans for primary care to be more actively involved.
“Last season (winter) we seemed to be lacking that aspect of planning.”
A locality chairman with the CCG, Dr Ratan Das described it as “a long winter” and said there were three areas of concern.
“There were more patients this year and with greater needs, space in accident and emergency is at a premium, and there’s the issue of manpower.
He told the CCG that the accident and emergency area he was observing was so small that it “almost wasn’t fit for purpose”.
> A trusted assessor position is being adopted by Bedfordshire Care Group.
An assessor can play a vital role in liaising between hospital staff and care providers or families to speed up the process of being discharged.
Central Bedfordshire Council’s head of partnerships and performance Patricia Coker told a meeting of its social care, health and housing committee the BCG “is to employ a role of assessor”.
“We don’t have a hospital of our own,” she said. “We have to work with hospitals to deliver the maximum support we want for our residents.
“We’re working with care homes to get people out of hospital quicker.
“It can facilitate getting patients back home and ensuring someone’s there to support them.”