Clinical leaders in North Cumbria have developed a new co-ordination hub to ensure patients are provided with a better service when they are being admitted or discharged from the county’s hospital at Carlisle.
The new Clinical Co-ordination Centre opened at the Cumberland Infirmary this week and brings together for the first time all the agencies which support urgent admission and complex discharge from the hospitals connecting primary, community, social, and acute systems of care.
The idea behind the plan is that the agencies will now be able to work much more closely together to improve the flow through the hospitals and community services.
The hub will be able to establish the best place for patients to be seen whether that is for urgent care, ambulatory care, an assessment ward or in the main hospitals. This is designed to free systems which will make a huge difference to patients and for the hospital staff caring for them. The Hub will also direct referrals to community options – social support, rapid response, hospital at home – so that patients receive the right on-going care.
This will include setting up the best package of support to help people get back on their feet – whether that is providing care at home and rehabilitation, community nursing or a community hospital bed.
The Clinical Co-ordination Centre is to be managed by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the multidisciplinary team will be based within the Cumberland Infirmary. The Team has four main functions:
- The Professional Point of Access – this is a clinical telephone triage service which will deal with all urgent GP referrals to the hospital and provide an immediate route for patients appropriate to their needs
- The Integrated Assessment Team – this team will support decision making on the best care and support for patients in the Emergency Assessment Unit and A & E.
- Patient Tracking and Care Co-ordination – oversees moves to community services or community care
- Integrated Discharge Team – this team plans complex patient discharges finding the most appropriate on-going care
The Clinical Co-ordination Centre has been developed taking account of recent guidance published by the Royal College of Physicians on how to best manage patient flow within hospitals and the community that is in the best interest of safe patient care.
Peter Weaving, GP Clinical Director for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This is an exciting development which brings all the necessary agencies onto one site to manage a patient’s journey to provide a much easier pathway of care for them and to ensure that once their acute care has finished in the hospital, they have a seamless transfer into the most appropriate community setting.
“Hopefully our patients will notice a difference in reduced waiting in A & E and reduced length of stay in the hospitals and faster recovery in the community or at home.”
Dr John Howarth, a Director at Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “This is a great example of collaboration between the community health services and the hospital to improve the experience for patients. It has been set up in record time to help manage the significant extra demand expected this winter.”
Cllr Beth Furneaux, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Adults and Local Services, said: “Joined-up working between health and social care providers is key to how we work now and in the future. This Hub will ensure patients get the right treatment at the right time in the right place.”
Dr Hugh Reeve, Clinical Chair of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This important new initiative at the Cumberland Infirmary will make better use of the resources we have and will improve the day to day experience for patients and those working hard to deliver better healthcare services in Cumbria. Everyone in the community needs access to the right healthcare in the right place and the new Clinical Co-ordination Centre provides patients with safe effective care and a much more efficient service.”