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10 June 2015

UH Bristol’s planned care programme in the running for national award

University Hospitals Bristol's planned care programme has been shortlisted for a prestigious Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare Award.

The planned care programme, launched in October, is a new way of working within the Trust's surgical division, which aims to enhance care for patients coming in for emergency and planned procedures.

Planned Care

It does this by improving the scheduling of operations and planning of the use of available beds to ensure that patients are admitted to the correct specialty ward, for both planned procedures and emergency admissions.

Deborah Lee, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at UH Bristol said: "This work has been extremely important in helping to improve patient care, which is always our primary goal. It's also helped our hospitals to run more efficiently and effectively. Staff from across the Trust have worked extremely hard on it, and we know it's already had a big impact, so it's very heartening that the programme has been shortlisted for this award."

"Coming in for a planned operation and having your procedure cancelled on the day because there isn't a bed available, affects not just the patient but their family," said Andrew Hollowood, the clinical chair for the Division of Surgery, Head and Neck and the lead for the programme.

"This is the situation we've been working hard to avoid. Our programme largely aims to prevent these cancellations to ensure we offer the best care for our patients. We've been carefully planning the numbers of elective surgery patients according to the type of procedure they need, how long they are likely to stay in hospital and when they are likely to be discharged. Elective operations sometimes get cancelled because of a lack of beds for patients. But thanks to our better planning, more hospital beds are becoming available, which has significantly reduced the number of cancelled planned operations."

As a result of the programme, the number of operations that unfortunately needed to be cancelled due to a lack of ward beds fell from 34 in April 2014 to just six in March 2015. Between October 2014 and March 2015, an additional 12 patients per month had their planned operation on the date promised - an increase of 3.4 per cent compared with the six months before the programme began.

Andrew added: "We achieved these improvements despite considerable pressures on the health system during the winter months, which saw some hospitals in the South West forced to cancel more than 30 per cent of their planned operations. We understand that more work needs to be done but we are very pleased with our progress so far."

By ensuring the right specialty beds are available for patients through improved planning, the programme has also led to more emergency patients being admitted to the correct ward. "As a result of the programme, we have increased the number of emergency orthopaedic patients being directly admitted to an orthopaedic ward from 28 per cent before the programme began to 87 per cent by December," said Andrew. "This means more patients are being cared for in the right place by the right clinicians. This can help reduce the amount of time a patient needs in hospital as well as greatly enhancing their care."