Trust ready for winter surge

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

HOSPITAL chiefs say firm plans are in place to help them deal with an expected surge in admissions during the winter.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust has drawn up an extensive Winter Preparedness Plan to deal with the anticipated extra pressure.

As winter bites, hospitals traditionally see an increase in admissions of patients suffering flu and the Norovirus sickness bug.

Julie Gillon, the trust’s chief operating officer, and deputy chief executive, updated hospital bosses on the plans in place at the last board meeting.

She said in a report: “A huge level of planning is involved each year to ensure the organisation is prepared to face the oncoming winter with this year being no exception.

“Historical evidence signifies a recurrent, significant and exceptional pressure upon healthcare resources during the conventional four or five month winter period.”

Pressure faced by the trust last winter was not as high as expected, due to a milder winter and high take up of flu vaccinations.

But the trust saw a surge from March through to until September.

Numerous plans are in place to make sure they are well prepared for anything this winter throws up.

The trust says senior decision makers will be at the forefront of activity to see things run smoothly.

Ms Gillon added: “This will be demonstrated with a senior on-call rota, a bed management capacity and patient structure and a well-embedded electronic bed management system, supported by robust processes.”

A resilience command and control centre will be at the hub of daily leadership activity and will meet twice a day.

A winter planning group co-ordinates the overall plan .

The trust is also putting extra focus on making sure recovered patients are discharged as soon as possible to free up beds for emergency admissions.

Hospital chiefs will also stay in close contact with primary care trusts and GPs to keep on top of what is going on in the community.

Ms Gillon added: “The winter and surge plan will be delivered operationally on a day-to-day basis and the organisation is in a state of preparedness in terms of capacity and surge resilience for the forthcoming winter.”