Shropshire hospitals boss: 'Effective partnerships needed as we prepare for winter'

Medical director at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Dr Arne Rose, describes the trust's recovery efforts and how it is preparing for winter.

Dr Arne Rose
Dr Arne Rose

One of the things that has stood out for me during the coronavirus outbreak is the fantastic way that teams across our hospitals and the wider health and care systems have pulled together.

A great example of this is the news that came out this week that local healthcare partners have joined up to improve the hospital discharge process for patients, reducing the time patients wait for discharge support services by an average of two-and-a-half days.

Working with our partners we set up an ‘Integrated Discharge Hub’ to provide rapid access to discharge services once a patient is ready to leave hospital, with the aim of discharge taking place on the same day whenever possible.

For the first time, all partners are co-located at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, and the service operates seven-days-a-week. To date, the Hub has received almost 1,400 complex discharge referrals, with a 67 per cent improvement in the time patients wait to be discharged, reducing the average waiting time from four to one and a half days.

This is really good news and it is this kind of effective partnership working that we will need as we prepare for the winter and the additional challenges that will present.

As cancer and urgent activity becomes more stable, additional routine outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and surgeries are being re-established. This is not a quick or easy process as we need to ensure that social distancing can be observed and that infection prevention and control measures are followed.

To re-establish services we have set up a number of groups to look at individual areas including diagnostics and screening, outpatients, urgent treatment and cancer and women’s and children’s services. Services restored already include Fertility, Gynaecology, ENT, Maxillofacial, Bowel Screening, Breast Screening and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening.

To help us reduce the backlog caused by coronavirus, we have brought an additional CT scanner, along with additional staff, onto the PRH site, which will remain in place for three weeks.

The scanner will be operational for 12-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Our teams will continue to work hard to restore more services and I want to thank them and our partners again for their continued commitment at this challenging time.

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