Mary Hutton, Accountable Officer at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The winter period always brings particular challenges and each of the NHS and Social Care organisations in Gloucestershire share the collective responsibility to work in the interests of the patient and to focus their clinical and management time and energy on ensuring high quality, joined up care.

The number of patients who are ‘medically stable,’ but waiting for safe and appropriate transfer home or to another place of care is closely monitored and every effort is being made to reduce any delays.

Arrangements for leaving hospital are co-ordinated by an Integrated Discharge Team, which includes nurses and social workers. The team has been significantly strengthened in preparation for the winter months, when hospitals are at their busiest. Their role is to work with individual patients, who may have complex needs, to ensure they receive on-going care in the most appropriate place.

In addition, the opening hours of the discharge lounges at both main hospital sites have been extended to allow patients to wait in a safe and comfortable area of the hospital before going home and we have invested in a ‘short stay ward’ for patients who require a short (24-48 hours) hospital stay.

We have put a number of new services in place to strengthen urgent care services for winter. These include Older People’s Assessment and Liaison and Ambulatory Emergency Care services which provide intensive medical support to older patients in our main hospitals to improve their outcomes and help ensure they are looked after in the best place for them.

We have invested £3.9 million and strengthened our Integrated Community and Rapid Response teams which respond quickly to people in their homes and ensure that they receive the most appropriate treatment and care. This is helping to reduce the number of people who need a stay in hospital and helping other patients to leave hospital sooner with the right support.

We are also working with the Ambulance service to ensure that where possible patient care is delivered outside of hospital, including accessing expert advice from paramedics, GPs and mental health professionals.

Like other areas of the country, the urgent care system in Gloucestershire faces real pressure during certain parts of the year and everyone is working hard to ensure patients experience timely transfer from an acute hospital, whether that’s to a community hospital, a care home or to the patient’s own home.”