Issue - meetings

Winter Pressures Update

Meeting: 17/01/2023 - Health and Wellbeing Board (Item 26)

26 Winter Pressures Update pdf icon PDF 161 KB

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The Board received a report and presentation which set out the current winter pressures and vaccination uptake rates.


The Board were advised of the headlines in summary and that Northwick Park remained one of the busiest hospitals in the country with typically more patients than beds available at the start of each day.  Numbers attending appeared to be stabilising but patients had an increased complexity of needs and support due to the aging population.


In terms of the table setting out the Escalation status at Northwick Park Hospital, the Board were advised that, after the status of critical incident, the full capacity protocol (purple) was the second most serious situation meaning that there were zero available beds but a number of patients awaiting admission and that this did have an impact on staff working under consistent pressure.  It was usual to stay in an escalation period (black) during the winter.


The Board received details of the discharge pathway and whilst the Covid rates had not been as high as expected there had been high numbers of flu and respiratory illness cases and also children being brought to A & E due to concerns about Strep A.


The Board were advised of the good take up rates of vaccinations in relation to both flu and Covid, the Public Health work on Making Every Contact Count and also the programme around vaccination hesitancy.  There had been additional funding put into the system to deal with the responses to winter pressures.


In response to a question about the additional 24 beds that had been funded at Northwick Park Hospital it was clarified that these were winter escalation beds but that instead of medical staff looking after 4 patients in a bay they would be caring for 5 with the additional infrastructure having been put in to enable this.  This did place additional pressure on staff and it was sometimes necessary to employ agency staff as well as stepping down elective work to expand capacity in wards.  At the end of the winter it was planned to de-escalate and close these beds down.


A Member expressed concern in relation to the volume of requests for adult social care and also the number of vacancies in primary care and questioned what measures were being put in place to address the shortfall in staff.  The Board were advised that the demand on adult social care from patients being discharged from hospital was huge and included support, advice and reablement.  In terms of staffing, this was a challenge at a national level but work was being done with Harrow College to encourage people to work locally and also to see what could be done to attract people to work in Harrow.  Retention of trained staff was key.  Work was also being done in terms of recruiting internationally.


Following a comment that residents regularly complained about the length of time it took to be discharged from hospital as a result of having to wait to see a consultant and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26