An immediate priority for our STP is to implement local ‘place based plans’ so that people can get the care they need as close to home as possible. The aims are to help people to stay well, support people to manage existing conditions, retain their independence, and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.
More community-based care is not only better and more convenient for local people, it also reduces the pressure on our hospitals. Once better community-based services in place, we will need to make sure that we have the right hospital services to meet the needs of the future.
Initial work commenced on reviewing our acute services 2017. We have been analysing the data to confirm the expected capacity and demand across our acute hospitals over the coming years. It shows that our hospitals face significant challenges and we will not have enough acute hospital beds if demand and length of stay continue to rise at the current rate.
Further work needs to be carried by each area on its place based plan before we can be clear on the level of acute activity that could be avoided by better integrated community care. We also need to better understand where there are opportunities for hospitals to work more closely together to share expertise and resources, particularly where there are recruitment challenges.
This work will enable us to develop a comprehensive and robust strategy for acute services in due course. When the time comes, clinicians will lead this work with involvement from patients and the public. If any significant changes are proposed they would be formally consulted on before the relevant local organisations made any decisions.