NHS seeks views on next steps for assessing urgent care
Patients, clinicians and the public are being invited to give their views on a comprehensive set of indicators for urgent care.
The updated standards aim to capture what matters clinically and to patients, end hidden waits and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is the next stage in a developmental process first initiated in 2018. The proposed bundle of measures takes account of changes in the way that urgent care is delivered such as the roll-out of Same Day Emergency Care and strengthening of NHS 111. Hospitals will be expected to see and assess patients within 15 minutes, one of 10 indicators.
Local health systems could receive a rating that reflects the whole patient journey under the bundle, developed as a result of testing those first published in the interim Report of the clinically-led review of NHS access standards.
Integrated care systems would be scored on measures including 111 performance, ambulance response times and patient handovers, timely assessments and time spent in emergency departments (EDs). Data on individual Trusts’ performance would still be published each month.
Taken together the measures, developed with clinical leaders, will improve patient flow to prevent crowding and ensure A&Es function more efficiently and effectively than the current set of standards which date back 15 years.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it more important than ever that patients get the right care, in the right place, at the right time and can socially distance while they do so. NHS National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis said: “After a decade and a half it is only right that we look at how we measure urgent and emergency care with fresh eyes.
“There have been many innovations in urgent treatment in that time and it is important that they are reflected in how we assess patient care from start to finish. The coronavirus pandemic has only made it more important that we update the way we measure urgent care to ensure NHS services deliver what matters most to patients and clinically.”
The consultation is backed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Healthwatch, Doctors’ Association, College of Paramedics , Patients Association, Stroke Association, Royal College of Physicians, UK Sepsis Trust, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) on behalf of NHSCC and NHS Confederation.
In 2018, Professor Powis was asked by the Prime Minister to review the NHS access standards to ensure they measure what matters most to patients and to clinical outcomes.
The review seeks to align with the ongoing transformation programme of urgent and emergency care by addressing the importance of patient flow into, through and out of emergency departments; good patient flow prevents ambulances queuing outside of hospital EDs, prevents overcrowding of departments and the associated risk of hospital- acquired infection and reduced quality of care for patients, and prevents delays in patients being discharged or admitted to a bed on the appropriate ward for ongoing care.
These indicators have been developed with a number of acute NHS trusts and through consultation with an extensive group of clinical and patient representative stakeholders.
The consultation closes on Friday 12 February 2021
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