Staff from health and care providers across Plymouth have been busy preparing to provide the best possible service to patients this winter. We recognise that patients are facing long waits and sometimes difficulty accessing health and care services.
This is why organisations are working hard together to make improvements and have come together to create a campaign, #HelpUsHelpYouPlymouth, that keeps local people updated on what is available.
From obtaining a GP appointment, to being able to access emergency care more quickly at Derriford Hospital and then being able to leave hospital and secure reablement support either at home or in community services – changes have been made in a bid to make getting help easier.
Staff at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Livewell Southwest, NHS Devon, South West Ambulance Service and Plymouth City Council have been working together to make the improvements and the campaign explaining what is being done in the city to prepare for winter includes:
One third of the calls South Western Ambulance Service receive are people chasing up the arrival of an ambulance, which impacts their #999 phone response times. This video explains how yoy can #HelpUsHelpYou this winter and only call back if the patient's condition has deteriorated.
Two Plymouth GPs outline work underway to improve general practice including appointments, online services and new roles to support patients. GP practices in Plymouth, have been expanding the number of appointments, including face to face appointments through the addition of paramedics, pharmacists and advanced nurse practitioners to their teams. People in these roles have specialist knowledge in areas such as medication, minor injuries, wound care, and managing long term conditions. There are now more than 100 people in the city working in these roles and if you are offered an appointment with one of them, you will be seeing the best person to help with your condition.
Expanding Same Day Emergency Care film: As we prepare for winter at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, we have invested £871,000 this winter to expand Acute Medicine and Same Day Emergency Care so more patients can be seen and treated and go home in a single day. The expanded Same Day Emergency Care service is now supported by a multidisciplinary team. This means that people who need specialist therapies can access their treatments on the same day. The types of patients who can be treated by the Same Day Emergency Care service include patients with deep vein thrombosis, low risk chest pain, some respiratory conditions, some cardiac conditions, patients with diabetes or gastrointestinal conditions. In addition, we have increased the opening hours of the Same Day Emergency Care service, so it stays open until 10pm (it previously closed at 6pm).
At University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust there is a continued focus on getting patients safely home from hospital. Derriford has launched a campaign with staff and families to help get patients ‘Home for Lunch’. It’s much better for a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing if they can leave hospital as soon as they are medically fit for discharge. Long stays in hospital can result in physical deconditioning, greater risk of falls and exposure to infection, an increase in long term care needs and a reduction in mental wellbeing.
To try and ease pressure on our services this winter we are helping support our patients to get home quicker through our new Hospital to Home team. The therapy led team facilitates patients ready for discharge from hospital, and in turn helps us free up beds for those people that need our services.
We are working with South Western Ambulance Service to reduce the times that ambulances wait outside our hospital. Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Kath Potts, outlines the actions taking place this winter.
Looking to the future, enabling works will start in 2023 for a new 17,000m2 Urgent and Emergency Care facility as part of the New Hospital Programme, which will increase our ability to see more patients, more quickly. This new facility will consist of four floors of emergency care facilities; one devoted to same day emergency care, a new paediatric emergency department, five new interventional theatres, four conventional theatres and all the support accommodation and imaging capacity that’s associated with our emergency care pathway. Find out more about the new Urgent and Emergency Care Centre.
Patients can continue their hospital care either in the comfort of their own home or at a care hotel with a homely environment. Watch this video how Livewell Southwest are working with the City Council to get people home sooner.
There are things the public can do to help:
1. Help get patients home for lunch - If your relative is in hospital and ready to go home, please collect them as soon as you can to get them home for lunch
2. Think 111 - If you think you, or someone you care for, needs to attend an emergency Department (ED), call 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk first.
3. Be assessed - If you attend ED, you will be assessed and may be redirected to another service if it is more appropriate for your needs.
4. Be kind - staff are working incredibly hard to care for people so please be polite and patient.