Nurses are to work with homeless hostels in Brighton and Hove to try to reduce the number who need hospital treatment.
The move is part of a drive by health chiefs to cut the number of people turning up in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
It is part of a wider plan drawn up by the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to relieve some of the pressures that the A&E will face this winter.
The CCG has been given £2.3 million by the Department of Health to cope with the expected extra demand.
The measures include
- Specialist services for older people and people with dementia so that, when it is best for them, they can receive the support they need at home and in the community rather than in hospital
- Extra night sitters to stay at home with people who need care overnight to help them become less likely to need to go to hospital
- Specialised advice at weekends in A&E for people who are having problems with “club drugs” so they can be directed to the right support services to help them
- Senior medical staff at the front door of A&E to assess patients earlier, improving the flow of people through the department, reducing unnecessary admissions and helping those in need of care to receive the best possible treatment
- Weekend walk-in clinics in some GP practices across Brighton and Hove at times of high demand along the lines of the Brighton Station walk-in centre in Queen’s Road
- Extra community rehabilitation services to support people at home physically and medically when they are discharged from hospital so that they can continue on the road to recovery
- Nursing support in homeless hostels so that the people staying there can receive the healthcare they need to avoid admissions to hospital
The CCG said: “The money is being spent across the health and social care system in Brighton as part of the joined up approach to relieving pressure this winter.”
Money will be spent with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex.
The CCG said: “These measures will be supported by a publicity campaign to enlist the help of local people in keeping A&E from becoming overwhelmed this winter.”
Christa Beesley, the CCG’s chief clinical officer, said: “We all know that winter brings extra pressures and demands on the health system and this year will be no different.
“To make sure we are doing everything possible to try to relieve that, we need to work together with health providers and partners to make sure we are as joined up as we can be.
“We also need to ask people living in Brighton and Hove to do help us by really considering when to use A&E and when other health services can work.”
Dr Beesley added: “Our health staff across the city work tirelessly throughout the year, but especially in winter, to keep people well. This is about supporting them in caring for our city.”
The plan for spending the £2.3 million extra funding was developed and agreed by the organisations that sit on the Urgent Care Programme Board. These are
- Brighton and Hove CCG
- Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG
- High Weald Lewes Havens CCG
- Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Sussex Community NHS Trust
- Brighton and Hove City Council
- East Sussex County Council
- Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
- IC 24 (formerly South East Health)
The CCG announcement comes days after the board of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals agreed the trust’s winter plan.