The CSU’s Regional Capacity Management Team (RCMT) is running a pilot project aimed at improving the patient’s experience of the urgent and emergency care system.
Working across Birmingham and Solihull and commissioned by the three CCGs in the area, Urgent Care Solutions (UCS) is a year-long pilot testing new approaches to operational issues in emergency and urgent care at a health economy wide level. The service operates from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Building on the current RCMT approach, it enhances the role, scope and availability of the Capacity Manager, facilitating more direct operational support throughout the urgent and emergency care patient journey. An Urgent Care Intelligence Centre has been established. This is dedicated to monitoring real-time activity and events in the system, supporting Capacity Managers in ensuring early intervention when the flow of patients through any part of the system slows or stalls.
UCS works alongside all healthcare providers to challenge the way emergency and urgent healthcare is delivered, achieve a culture shift in the system and build strong economy-wide networks. Its aim is to make patients’ journeys as free-flowing as possible, helping staff to find solutions to issues of patient flow before they have an impact. The pilot will also support CCG Urgent Care teams in developing emergency and urgent care services to further meet the needs of patients; this through the provision of insights from the pilot and relieving CCG staff of the disruptive involvement in immediate operational pressures to focus on developmental and strategic work.
RCMT is collaborating with Aston University in developing novel activity forecasting methods during the project. The team will be working closely with operational and capacity teams throughout the patient journey, including ambulance services, 111, primary care, acute and community services, mental health and social services.
And as part of the service, UCS will act as a communication centre for the health economy which will benefit from the seven day presence of the team and improved transparency across the healthcare system.
Evaluation of the pilot approach is well underway although the full report is not scheduled to be delivered until after the end of the pilot in October 2015. It has already provided valuable lessons for the RCMT and these are being built into the service we offer.
Even at this stage, there is the potential to extend the pilot into other geographical areas, with the advantage of economies of scale a possibility and delivery in time for Winter 2015/16.