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Can elective hubs help ease NHS winter pressures?

The NHS has set out steps to rapidly boost capacity and resilience ahead of the busy 2022 winter period while progressing the 2022/23 Operational Priorities and delivering the Elective Recovery Plan.

In addition to planning for autumn/winter, the next steps include the need to increase capacity and operational resilience in urgent and emergency care, with core objectives and key actions, including:

1 – Preparing for variants of COVID-19 and respiratory challenges, including an integrated COVID-19 and flu vaccination programme.

2 – Increasing capacity outside acute trusts, including the scaling up of additional roles in primary care and releasing annual funding to support mental health through the winter

3 – Increasing resilience in NHS 111 and 999 services, through increasing the number of call handlers to 4.8k in 111 and 2.5k in 999.

4 – Target Category 2 response times and ambulance handover delays, including improved utilisation of urgent community response and rapid response services, the new digital intelligent routing platform, and direct support to the most challenged trusts.

5 – Reducing crowding in A&E departments and target the longest waits in ED, through improving use of the NHS directory of services, and increasing provision of same day emergency care and acute frailty services.

6 – Reducing hospital occupancy, through increasing capacity by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds, through a mix of new physical beds, virtual wards, and improvements elsewhere in the pathway.

7 – Ensuring timely discharge, across acute, mental health, and community settings, by working with social care partners and implementing the 10 best practice interventions through the ‘100 day challenge’.

8 – Providing better support for people at home, including the scaling up of virtual wards and additional support for High-Intensity Users with complex needs.

With a heavy focus on Urgent and Emergency care, what can Elective and planned care providers do to relieve pressures?

Can Elective Hubs make a difference this winter?

In order to help manage pressure across the planned care pathway and support an improved flow of patients, elective hubs allow utilisation of the existing estate to the maximum enabling benefit, focusing on clearing backlog at a system level (GIRFT)

For the NHS, meeting the 78-week elective waiting time expectations by the end of March 2023 is a significant challenge and although NHS trusts have been reducing very long waits and improving productivity, providers are understandably juggling the capacity to support urgent and cancer care that directly impacts elective recovery.

Therefore, healthcare systems should expect more from their elective hubs and ring-fenced elective pathways this winter to help ease the pressure.


How can Four Eyes Insight support?

As providers continue to work to the elective recovery plan, Four Eyes Insight can support elective centres and ring-fenced pathways in becoming the hubs for High Volume-Low Complexity (HVLC) delivery. Day case units rarely reached higher levels of productivity even before the pandemic, so a focus on those operational factors that, when done well, move the dial on productivity and deliver more is crucial to elective recovery and easing the pressure during the winter months.

Using the combined power of people, data and technology to get to the root cause of NHS elective care pathway inefficiencies; Four Eyes Insight work collaboratively with all organizational stakeholders. We implement interventions that optimise elective care pathways and provide tools to monitor their effectiveness ensuring that a culture of continuous improvement to drive long term, sustainable change is embedded along the way.

To learn more about how Four Eyes Insight can support your organisation please contact us.