‘Control centres’ launched in bid to tackle NHS winter pressures

SPECIAL ‘control centres’ have gone live in the south west to manage the NHS as winter pressures grow – including in Dorset.

The centres aim to help getting patients into beds more quickly and ease winter pressures using data to identify where people would be best treated.

They are able to divert ambulances to another nearby hospital with more capacity or identify hospitals that need extra support.

The healthcare control centres are among measures announced as part of the NHS winter planning in October alongside falls response teams, additional bed capacity and new hubs dedicated to serious respiratory infections.

Across the south west, each of the seven integrated care systems has a dedicated 24/7 operation where teams, including senior clinicians, can track data in real time to help them make quick decisions in the face of emerging challenges.

It is hoped working this way will mean sites are able to respond to live issues and plan for pressures over weekends, bank holidays and other wider public events or dates that can affect services.

Martin Wilkinson, director of performance and improvement for the NHS in the south west of England, said: “Everyone who works across the NHS and social care wants to provide quality and timely treatment every time.

“They work tirelessly to do this and the healthcare control centres are among a range of initiatives being rolled out this winter to support them in their excellent efforts.

“These data-driven centres are now helping us monitor pressures and manage resource across the south west of England, with NHS staff working around the clock, from Dorset to Cornwall, to make the best possible decisions for both staff and patients.

“With the NHS working hard to cope with the Covid and flu cases this winter, on top of the expected winter pressures, it has never been more important for the NHS to introduce these important planning measures ahead of what is likely to be one of our most challenging winters yet.”

Recent statistics show more than 19 out of 20 adult general and acute beds in the south west were occupied in the week to November 20, with more than 2,000 beds a day taken up by patients medically fit for discharge.

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