Urgent and Emergency Care are failing to hit key waiting times due to increased demand across all areas according to the JUNE NHS Performance Data. This shows that there has been:
3.7% increase in emergency admissions
6% increase in diagnostic testing
4% increase in consultant led treatment
only 90.5% of patients hitting the 4 hour wait target in A+E
These figures only go to show that demand is increasing for services but new thinking and strategies need to be implemented now in order for patient pathways to be improved.
There are government initiatives to encourage care closer to home but in the financially stretched NHS climate there needs to be "real world" solutions proposed and supported.
Infection is an area where there are good models of out of hospital care being developed whether this is in the home by a private provider or in intermediary care settings that are being supported by CCG's. Obviously this is only relevant for appropriate patients but if the appropriate governance is in place then OPAT can relieve some financial pressures by offering both Early Discharge and Admission Avoidance solutions.
The UK OPAT Initiative has grown since an initial stakeholder meeting in 2009 to be the key portal for education and support for OPAT services in the UK and is also being used as examples of best practice internationally. More information on the initiative is available at www.e-opat.com and registration is open for the UK OPAT conference on 8th-9th December at Birmingham ICC. Early Bird Registration is available until 15th September and abstracts are being accepted for oral and poster presentations. Please visit www.opat-conference for more information and to register.
What else can we do to encourage out of hospital care for appropriate patients?