Acting without delay – How the independent sector is working with the NHS to reduce delayed discharge

NHS Confederation, June 2017

This report from the NHS Partners Network highlights examples where the independent sector is working with the NHS to avoid delayed discharges of care.  Reducing delayed discharge – where often frail and elderly patients are unable to leave hospital due to necessary care, support or accommodation in the community being unavailable – is arguably one of the biggest priorities for the NHS.

Delayed discharges and transfers of care (DTOCs) have a significant impact on the ability of NHS acute trusts to provide routine treatment such as elective surgery. It is vital, both for the patient and the trust, to be able to discharge patients speedily to avoid adverse effects to patient flow.

Sustainability and transformation plans: how serious are the proposals? A critical review

London South Bank University, School of Health and Social Care, May 2017

This report argues that in order to deliver a better future for the NHS, all 44 STPs would need to be given legislative powers and support necessary to achieve effective collaboration, plus some much-needed clarification on their role. It also recommends that STP leaders need to plan ahead based on the reality of their current situation, identify changes that are evidence-based, develop workforce plans that match their ambitions, and focus on reducing demand before removing resources from the acute sector. Alongside the main report, 44 sub-reports are available, each critically reviewing the plans for each STP locality.

Involving people in health and care guidance

The two sets of guidance, and a wealth of web based resources and best practice, together supersede the original ‘Transforming Participation in Health and Care’ guidance, which was published in 2013 | NHS England

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In response to user feedback, elements of the original guidance have been retained and new features introduced, including a greater focus on people with the greatest health needs, and information on the practicalities of involvement.

The links between individual and collective involvement in health are clear; people who have advanced knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health are more likely to get involved at a group/community level in having a say about health and health services. Equally, those who have been involved in the commissioning process (planning, buying and monitoring) health services are more likely to be informed about health and health services; they will therefore be better placed to manage their own health and be involved about decisions relating to their care and treatment.

How digital therapies can help treat anxiety and depression

NICE is to start assessing new digital therapies that will help treat more people with anxiety and depression.

Guided self-help, which can track people’s mood or advise on breathing exercises for example, is recommended by NICE guidance to help treat mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

As part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, NICE has been asked to assess digital applications or computer programmes, which will sit alongside face-to-face, phone and online therapy.

Developers of therapy applications are being invited to submit their product to NICE to see if it meets the criteria to be entered into the new programme.

An eligible product will be assessed by NICE for its content, how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression, how cost effective it is and whether it complies with technical NHS standards.

NICE will then produce an IAPT assessment briefing (IAB) on the product which will be looked at by an expert panel, made up of mental health clinicians, statisticians, an economist and a patient representative.

They will look at NICE’s briefing and make a decision on whether the product can be recommended for real-life testing in selected IAPT services, where further evidence can be collected on its effectiveness.

Read more via NICE

Support for people with a learning disability

NHS England has announced that patients with a learning disability, autism or both are set to benefit from over £10 million investment to help them lead more independent lives, closer to their friends and family.  The funding will support fourteen local Transforming Care Partnerships to work with service users and providers to develop new, high-quality, community services for people in their area.

These include:

  • In Bradford, intensive support for children showing challenging behaviour in an effort to avoid the need for residential schooling;
  • In the South of England, action to help people move from long-term inpatient care into more appropriate facilities in their own communities, and;
  • In Berkshire, funding for a multi-disciplinary community service to support people, helping to speed up the closure of an inpatient unit.

Treatments and technologies matter, but patients most want to be seen as people

Patient stories are a raw and compelling new kind of online feedback. They can prompt rapid improvements in services – if the NHS is willing to embrace them | The Guardian Healthcare Network

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People have always shared their experiences of healthcare, usually privately, with family, neighbours or workmates. But online, patients and carers are increasingly willing to share accounts of their health service encounters with the wider world, often in intimate detail. There are websites devoted to collecting and publicising patient ratings and reviews of healthcare professionals, services, diagnoses and treatments.

The stories of patients and carers are becoming an unavoidable part of modern healthcare. In the US, people searching online for information about local services are more likely to read patient comments than official clinical outcome measures or patient experience metrics. In the UK, staff routinely read online patient feedback and share it on social media. NHS regulators have even started to think in terms of monitoring and analysing patient stories to provide an “early warning” for when things might be going wrong.

Read the full news story here

Best practice case studies

The NHS Confederation has published further case studies highlighting examples of best practice: