It is well known that our hospitals are very busy, and that winter will bring increasing pressure. One of the biggest challenges we face is the number of people arriving at the hospital in ambulances, who cannot be admitted to the hospital because of a shortage of beds. It is much better for patients to be inside the hospital than waiting in an ambulance, and it is also important to free up ambulances to answer other calls.
So we are implementing a new way of working at QEH, to improve this situation. We’re calling this ‘the Woolwich Way’. It’s a variation on an approach that was originally used at North Bristol.
The aim is to make more beds available by moving patients who are ready to leave hospital into discharge lounges, or other parts of wards, early in the day. We will continue to care for them, of course, but freeing up their beds will allow us to move more patients into wards, bring more patients into the hospital from ambulances, and free up those ambulances.
This involves a number of changes in the way we work, but there has been a significant amount of planning behind this, and we are confident that it will benefit patients.
Louise Crosby, Chief Nurse, says, “We always look at how we can make improvements that will benefit patients. The Woolwich Way will reduce the numbers of people waiting in ambulances, which is a good thing. We’re ready to make this work.”
We are launching this initiative at Queen Elizabeth Hospital first, and will roll it out at University Hospital Lewisham soon.