Bridge the Gap team improves patient flow and discharges
12 November 2018
It has been widely acknowledged that the winter of 2017/18 saw the NHS in England experience a huge surge in demand.
Southend, like hospitals across the
country, has put plans in place to help manage the rise in demand
experienced during this time of year to ensure patient safety and
high quality of care is maintained. Plans are in place to improve
bed capacity and patient flow including the safe discharge of
Central to discharge and patient flow at
Southend is this year's Hospital Heroes Working Together award
winners, the Bridge the Gap team (BTG). Run by the Discharge Team
and consisting of four internally trained health care assistants
(HCAs), this small team plays a crucial role in acting as a
bridging service between the hospital and social care, ensuring
patients can be safely discharged into the community.
Kellie-Jo Hill, Head of discharge
services, said: "If a care agency hasn't got the capacity to start
a care package on a particular day, BTG can take that patient home
and will provide up to four calls a day until social services have
sourced an agency and can take over the care. It's a really short
term service to improve flow across the hospital, to get the
patient where they should be, in the right place at the right
BTG started off as a small pilot scheme
three years ago and it soon became apparent how successful it was
with a reduction in the delay of transfer of care. From there BTG
became a permanent and central component of the Discharge Team.
BTG liaise daily with social care teams
at both Essex County Council and Southend Borough Council, to
discharge between 5-6 patients per day. The four HCAs travel all
over Essex - from Canvey to Great Wakering - to support patients
until the council put their own care plans in place.
Charmaine Duce, Discharge Manager, said:
"It's about improving the patient journey and them being in the
right place. Some families worry that their loved one will be sent
home ill prepared with no food in the cupboards but BTG will take
care of this. We will get the shopping, we will put the heating and
lights on, feed the pets - whatever is needed."
The Discharge Team is also in the process
of building a business case to expand the Bridge the Gap team and
double daily discharges which will make a huge difference
throughout the upcoming winter holiday period.
The Southend team is basing their
business case on Basildon Hospital's model which is double the
capacity of Southend. These plans will be submitted to NHS England
and would align the services as Basildon, Southend and Broomfield
move forward with plans for merger in April 2019.
Clare Burns, Director of Operations,
Planned & Scheduled Care, said: "It's no exaggeration to say
that the Bridge the Gap team kept the hospital safe throughout
winter by doubling the amount of patients they safely discharged
home or into the community.
"This resulted in more beds being
available for additional unwell patients to be admitted."
At the close of September, the Bridge the
Gap team deservedly won the Working Together category at this
year's Hospital Heroes Awards. The team were delighted with their
win and hope it helps to raise their profile across the Trust as
they look to expand their services and play a crucial role this
winter and beyond.
Kellie-Jo added: "Winning the Working Together award was a very
proud moment for our team as it was the culmination of extremely
hard work and successful team working both internally and with the
local councils. We want to raise our profile and this will
hopefully help us do that as we look to expand and realign our
PHOTO (l-r): Bridge the Gap team - Cheryl Robinson (HCA),
Sue Childs (HCA), Victoria Spivey (HCA), Mandy Witney (HCA),
Kellie-Jo Hill and Charmaine Duce