Hospitals, GP surgeries, care providers and local authorities in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) have been working closely together to help relieve pressure on hospital beds due to the number of patients with covid, staff illness and the usual pressures on services experienced during winter.
The care providers have supported each other during a difficult winter period – and continue to do so – by helping people who are well enough to leave hospital but not quite ready to return home so beds can be used by others in need of immediate care.
BSW health and care organisations instigated several measures and, while some of these were only intended to be temporary and have recently been stood down or are about to be stood down, all the schemes helped to relieve pressure across the system.
The initiatives have been put in place by organisations including the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust, HCRG Care Group (formerly Virgin Care), Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG), Wiltshire Health and Care and other partners including the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.
Actions have included opening a new temporary ward at St Martin’s Hospital in Bath, opening a temporary care facility at a hotel in Bath, the introduction of Hospital Discharge Personal Health Budget Grants and opening temporary clinics to deal with childhood respiratory issues.
Other schemes have included providing beds for patients at a rehabilitation hospital in South Newton near Salisbury and making use of beds in care homes and other care settings across BSW.
Gill May, Director of nursing and quality at BSW CCG said:
“These schemes have been all about partners across health and social care working together to help patients get home when they no longer need medical care to improve flow and patient experience through the wider health and care system.
These schemes have certainly helped to relieve pressure on hospital beds over the past months and we will be assessing how effective the schemes have been so we can take forward learnings a for periods of sustained pressure on services in the future.”
Case study: Having time and space to get better
Victor O’Dell is 86 and lives in Trowbridge with his wife Wendy.
Around a year ago Victor started developing problems with his right foot that required medical attention. His foot had become swollen and blistered and covered in open sores.
The problem got worse and was affecting the quality of his life. He became inactive as he could no longer get about and had to stop walking his beloved pet Labrador, Monty.
His foot needed bandaging and he was, at first, seen to by his local GP. However, the problem got worse and his foot became harder to deal with. The sores and blisters eventually became so bad that he was admitted to an acute medical ward at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon where he underwent treatment.
Once he was medically fit enough to leave GWH, he was discharged to Ward 4 at St Martins Hospital in Bath where he spent time getting well enough to return home.
He says he found his experience on Ward 4 to have really helped with his recovery.
“It couldn’t be better. It’s a nice quiet place so I had time to get on with getting better and getting ready to go home,” he says. “The staff are all really nice and I was well fed and really well looked after.”