Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Royal Cornwall Hospital's radical bed-blocking solution

Photo:

Patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospital could be driven home by nursing staff or therapists under radical plans to tackle bed shortages.

The hospital in Truro is operating at full capacity, often with up to 50 people awaiting discharge at one time.

That means those beds are unavailable for new patients.

The RCH has plans that could solve the problem of bed-blocking Credit: ITV Westcountry

Patients could be driven home by nursing staff or therapists at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, under radical plans to tackle bed shortages.

The hospital is operating at full capacity, often with up to 50 people awaiting discharge at one time.

That means those beds are unavailable for new patients.

The RCHT is considering a scheme in which patients who need social care packages or to be transferred to Community Hospitals are transferred by its own staff to reduce delays.

Nurses could "take patients home" Credit: ITV Westcountry

I believe that we have a once in a generation opportunity to revolutionise healthcare for the local community and we need to integrate NHS services to meet patient need rather than organisational need. One of our current challenges is ensuring patients can leave hospital safely and at the appropriate time. To support this we are looking at taking patients home with nurses, physiotherapists or occupational therapists actively giving that initial support.

Some patients will be able to get home a lot quicker and more comfortably with just a little bit of intervention from the people who have been taking care of them in hospital and who know their treatment plans best and with whom they already have a relationship. In this way we hope to improve patient experience throughout the whole health and social care system and believe that NHS organisations can be better together - providing seamless care for patients.

– Lezli Boswell, RCHT Chief Executive

Health watchdogs say the idea is possible with the right staffing.

Generally we would be supportive of any measure that would improve the patient experience of discharge because historically this has been an area that has been very problematic. My concerns would be if there is actually the capacity for staff to be able to support this.

– Debbie Pritchard, Chief Executive, Healthwatch Cornwall

In March, the Quality Care Commission criticised the RCH for cancelling or delaying too many operations due to bed shortages.