Despite a significant increase in activity Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals and local Walk-In Centres have hit the national end of year target for 98 per cent of patients to be seen, treated, admitted or discharged from A&E or a Walk-in Centre within four hours. The performance has continued at that level into January.

Praising staff in Walk-in centres, across the Trust and specifically in A&E, Ashford and St. Peter’s Chief Executive Glenn Douglas said: “At the same time as activity increased we were expected to achieve a target of 98% of patients being assessed and treated and either discharged or admitted to other parts of the hospital from A&E. We achieved this at the end of December and have maintained this good performance into January. This is an immense achievement on the part of A&E and many other parts of our hospitals, who have pulled together to make this happen, for the benefit of patients.”

Since April 2004 performance against the four hour target ranged from 95 down to 86 per cent. Of these 67 per cent are admitted to hospital and 30 per cent discharged. But data collected by hospital staff shows that between 07:30hrs when admissions start and 15:30hrs when discharges are being finalised there is a significant mismatch between the number of patients in hospital and the resources available to manage them. This is placing a serious burden on staff and resources which can be reduced by bringing forward discharges from hospital. Arrangements are now being put in place to discharge patients earlier in the day from Ashford and St. Peter’s.

Following wide consultation both within and outside Ashford & St. Peter’s Hospitals the Trust’s Discharge Policy and Referral Guidelines have been reviewed and rewritten. The new documentation will help aid discharge planning and provide areas and Wards responsible for the process with a useful aid to making this part of the patient’s experience better. Claire O’Brien, Head of Admissions at Ashford and St. Peter’s said: “As well as consulting local Primary Care Trusts, Social Services and the ambulance service we have involved some carer and user groups in developing this new documentation. We have also taken on board best practice guidance from the Department of Health. Discharge planning should start before a patient arrives in hospital where admission is a planned event but where admission is through A&E the discharge planning process should commence within 24 hours.”

The Discharge Policy is available on the Trust’s website at www.ashfordstpeters.nhs.uk and includes discharge to other acute hospitals; to community hospitals, to nursing or residential homes or to the patient’s own home. It also has areas dealing with the needs of children, palliative care patients and patients with special needs.

 

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