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Hospital at Home scheme to go live by September

William Walker

William Walker

william.walker@newburynews.co.uk

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A SCHEME to treat some patients from their own home rather than in hospital is on track and expected to go live from September.

Director of strategy for the federation of Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups, Fiona Slevin-Brown, said at a health and wellbeing board meeting on Wednesday: “We are aiming for a soft launch on June 15 so we will keep the Health and Wellbeing Board posted.

“We hope to go live from September depending on recruitment of a few key posts.”

Under the scheme, when an adult patient from West Berkshire enters hospital suffering from one of the listed ailments they may give consent to be formally discharged and enter into the programme.

Patients are then taken home, greeted by a nurse and a care plan is agreed individually tailored to their condition, with the average length of “stay” on the home care scheme between three and four days for each patient.

Speaking after the meeting Fiona Slevin-Brown said that they anticipate up to 1,600 people in West Berkshire each year would use the scheme once it becomes fully operational.

She said: “The scheme aims to offer patients the choice, where it is clinically safe to do so, to have care provided in their own home or normal place of residence rather than needing to be admitted into hospital.

“Those who are already in hospital should also benefit as they could be offered an earlier discharge.

“While our data modelling did suggest some savings could be made in the future, Hospital at Home is first and foremost about improving care for our patients and reducing unnecessary complexity in the health and social care system.”

Medical director for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Lindsey Barker, said: “We are committed to ensuring our patients get the right treatment at the right time in the right place.

“Providing safe and quality care remains our top priority and as a trust we have agreed that once a patient has been assessed and it is deemed appropriate, we will refer them to the Hospital at Home service provided by Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.”

Plans for the scheme, which would allow for the treatment of conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia at home, first surfaced in August last year.

Speaking at a health and well-being board meeting last year, head of adult social care for West Berkshire, Tandra Forster, said that it had reduced demand on services in the countries where it had been developed, including the US, Canada and Australia.

It was revealed that in order to be cost-effective and draw demand down at hospitals at least 90 patients would need to sign up to the proposals across the district.

Answering concerns of patients being effectively pushed out of their beds, Cathy Winfield of Berkshire West CCG said: “They have to formally consent.

“I have to say there are not many people who are desperate to be in hospital and most would rather be at home. It’s a partnership with patients.”

Following trials last year in which three patients went through the process of entering hospital before being “admitted” into the programme and then treated from home, the project was pushed back to iron out any issues.

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