NHS England is distributing a further £150 million to help hospitals in England maintain their A&E services over winter. This is in addition to the £250 million allocated to the most at-risk hospitals in September, and is intended for the communities not deemed most at-risk. The intention is to enhance and maintain services with a view to reducing the pressures on A&Es. Local initiatives might include:
- Minimising A&E attendances and unplanned hospital admissions from care homes by appointing specialists to coordinate joined-up services for the elderly.
- Improved access to out-of-hours social work, increased hours at walk-in centres, increased provision of intermediate care beds and extension to pharmacy services to ease pressures on A&E departments.
- Consultant reviews of all ambulance arrivals in A&E, allowing senior-level decisions about what care is needed at the earliest opportunity.
Extra £150 million to ease winter pressures. London: NHS England, November 22nd 2013.
This relates to:
Media briefing note – winter pressures. London: NHS England, November 22nd 2013.
A BBC News commentary:
Triggle, N. (2013). Elderly emergency admissions rising. London: BBC Health News, November 21st 2013.
Triggle, N. (2013). Hospitals: A system under pressure. London: BBC Health News, December 6th 2013.
Triggle, N. (2013). Are we being fair to the NHS? London: BBC Health News, December 13th 2013.
Urgent Care Telephone Service NHS 111 May Not Have Helped
An investigation to measure the impact of the urgent care telephone service NHS 111 on the demand for emergency and urgent care found an increase in activity overall in the emergency and urgent care system. Instead of reducing calls to the 999 ambulance service or shifting patients to alternative forms and venues of urgent care, there may have been an increased overall demand for urgent care. The NHS Choices appraisal of this research cautions that it may be too early to judge.
NHS 111 pilot scheme ‘had teething problems’. London: NHS Choices, November 14th 2013.
This relates to:
Turner, J. O’Cathain, A. [and] Knowles, E. [et al] (2013). Impact of the urgent care telephone service NHS 111 pilot sites: a controlled before and after study. BMJ Open, November 14th 2013, Vol.3(11), e003451. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
Monitor Review of Walk-In Centre Services in England
Research from Monitor, the health sector regulator, found that patients may be unable to access the care they need if problems with access to local GP services occur. The NHS created 238 walk-in centres to improve access to primary care during the last decade, but only 185 remain open. This review examines the impact of closures of walk-in centres, the commissioning arrangements for walk-in centres and the suitability of payment mechanisms relating to walk-in centres and GP services.
Walk-in centre review: preliminary report. London: Monitor, November 11th 2013.
BMA Resources on Winter Pressures
The BMA has published a briefing document (and posters) on handling the impact of winter pressures.
Beating the effects of winter pressures. BMA Briefing Paper. London: British Medical Association (BMA), December 2013.