Help us get winter ready

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is investing over £1 million in a range of measures to boost urgent and emergency care capacity throughout the winter. The Trust also today launches a ‘get winter ready’ campaign – a set of tailored checklists and factsheets for staff, local GPs and the public – to help everyone play their part in preparing for the extra pressures the season is likely to bring.

Divisional director of medicine, Professor Tim Orchard, who leads the Trust’s urgent and emergency pathway improvement programme, says:

“We are expecting this winter to be worse than usual for flu infection. We’ve also already got a lot of pressure on our inpatient beds – partly as a result of estates problems causing wards to be out of action for repair work but also because we are seeing more urgent and emergency admissions – there’s been an 11 per cent increase since 2015/16.

“But I am confident we will continue to provide high quality care for all of our patients if we work together and make best use of all the planning and preparation that has been put in place. I would urge everyone to have a look at the checklists we’ve developed to be clear on what support is on offer and how it can be accessed, and what you can do yourself to get winter ready.”

The winter plan builds on a number of developments over the past year that sit within the Trust-wide urgent and emergency pathway improvement programme. They include:

  • Extending ambulatory emergency care services to evenings and weekends – providing urgent specialist review, diagnostics and treatment for suitable patients without the need for A&E attendance or inpatient admission. Since February 2016, nearly 20,000 patients have been seen in the ambulatory emergency care units at Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals
  • Expanding and refurbishing St Mary’s A&E with £3.2 million from Imperial Health Charity  increasing the number of resuscitation bays from four to six and adding a new four-bed assessment unit within the children’s A&E department.
  • Increasing medical and nurse staffing in A&E – including eight additional consultants appointed since 2015 and employing our own specialist mental health nursing teams to enable one-to-one support.
  • Co-locating acute medicine at Charing Cross – as part of a £2.5 million investment in urgent and emergency care services and theatres, establishing an acute medical unit and assessment unit on the ground floor, near to A&E and closer to imaging, to enable medical patients to be admitted more quickly.
  • Securing direct access to ‘interim’ beds in local care and nursing homes – enabling safe and prompt hospital discharge for older patients who no longer need to be in hospital but who do need on-going rehabilitation or longer term care packages to be in place, at home or in a nursing home.  
  • Discharge to assess’ and ‘home first’ approach to hospital discharge  working with community partners to enable medically fit patients who need a little more support at home to be discharged and assessed at home  rather than staying in hospital waiting for an assessment.

Additional ‘winter plan’ measures include:

  • ensuring 20 ‘flex’ beds can be opened quickly at times of high demand to create extra capacity
  • bringing into use up to 42 additional ‘permanent’ winter beds
  • staff flu vaccination campaign
  • expanding hospital frailty teams with additional dedicated pharmacy and occupational therapy input
  • expanding weekend ‘acute take’ team with additional registrar, senior nurse and occupational therapy staff
  • additional transport and porter resource

The ‘get winter ready’ campaign pulls together – for staff, local GPs and the public – information about what the Trust is offering and how we can work together to ensure patients continue to get high quality care throughout the winter months.

Our ‘get winter ready’ checklists and factsheets can be downloaded at left. Hard copies are being distributed across our hospitals and mailed to local GP practices.

 Get winter ready GP checklist

 Get winter ready GP checklist

Get winter ready patient checklist

Get winter ready patient checklist

Get winter ready staff checklist

Get winter ready staff checklist