How hospital plans to cope with winter surge in admissions
PUBLISHED: 12:23 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:28 27 November 2019
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A hospital has revealed how it plans to cope with the expected surge in admissions over the coming winter.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn will reduce elective (planned) operations during January and February to free up capacity for emergency cases.
It will also be opening more medical beds and ensuring patients who are well enough to go home can be discharged promptly.
Denise Smith, the QEH's chief operating officer, said: "Our focus remains delivering safe, timely care to our patients and improving flow through and out of the hospital.
"We have developed a robust winter plan with our health and social care partners, which includes creating additional inpatient capacity for medical patients and expanding our ambulatory care facility and discharge lounge.
"We are reducing our inpatient elective programme in a planned way during January and February so that we can ensure timely care for our emergency patients, whilst prioritising patients requiring urgent surgery, including cancer patients, and to minimise the number of cancelled operations which we know has a considerable impact on our patients and their families.
"We are encouraging our staff to have their flu jabs and have a programme of work to maximise our care and support for our staff during what are typically our busiest month of the year."
The plan also includes increasing capacity for same day emergency care so more patients can be treated and go home the same day.
Respiratory and cardiology specialist nurses will be drafted into the emergency department and its assessment zone to avoid unnecessary admissions and reduce readmissions.
Ward-based pharmacists will be working to help more of patients go home earlier in the day by speeding up prescribing and dispensing of medication.
A weekend discharge team will also be operating, to again ensure people go home as soon as they are well enough.
Over the last two years, demand at the region's hospitals has increased by 4pc in January.
Last month health secretary Matt Hancock said Norfolk would receive £4.2m from a £240m fund aimed at helping get people back into their homes after stays in hospitals, to free up hospital beds.