The Royal College of Physicians has chosen to partner four NHS Trusts across England and Wales as Future Hospital Development Sites. The RCP’s Future Hospital Programme was developed from the RCP’s Future Hospital report published in September 2013. The Programme aims to implement the RCP’s vision in improving the care of medical patients by bringing medical specialist care closer to the patient wherever they are, in hospital or in the community.
NHS Trusts were invited to apply to become development sites, and from the 20 applications received, the RCP has invited four projects to become partners in implementing and evaluating the Future Hospital in practice. The work of the four 2014 sites comprises the first phase of the Future Hospital Programme, committed to making the RCP Future Hospital vision a clinical reality for patients and physicians.
Three of the projects aim specifically to improve the care of frail older patients, and the fourth aims to streamline the care of patients admitted via acute medical admissions services, including frail older patients, by amalgamating several assessment and admission pathways on a single emergency floor of the hospital:
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Dr Olwen Williams will lead a team aiming to improve access to care for frail older patients in rural Wales. The objective is to enhance the response to healthcare needs, including end of life care, by bringing access to specialist care within easy reach of those living at considerable distance from hospital, principally through the use of telemedicine.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals
Dr Dinesh Nagi and colleagues aim to develop an older people’s assessment service as a part of an acute care hub, with a particular focus on frail older patients with fragility syndrome. The team will seek to transform the ‘front door’ experience for older patients.
Royal Blackburn Hospital
Dr John Dean and colleagues aim to deliver better quality and more effective services for frail older patients using integrated community teams working in partnership with primary, community, social and mental health care services.
Dr Roger Duckitt and colleagues aim to standardise pathways, streamline care and achieve safe, efficient clinical management for all patients. Key elements include early physician assessment of all patients including those with suspected surgical conditions, reduced transfer of patients between teams, and maximising opportunities to treat patients without hospital admission.
The RCP will support the development sites by helping them implement new ways of working, providing access to quality improvement expertise, and assistance in evaluating their individual programmes of work. The lessons learned by the FH Programme team and each development site will be collated and shared with other partners in the Future Hospital Programme and beyond to spread good practice and foster system-wide improvement in the care of medical patients.
Dr Anita Donley, chair, Future Hospital project board and RCP clinical vice-president, said:
We promised that the Future Hospital report wouldn’t languish on a shelf, and we are keeping that promise with our Future Hospital Programme of health improvement initiatives. I’m delighted to welcome the first four development sites to the Programme – together we’re harnessing the enthusiasm and willingness of NHS Trusts to innovate where it matters – in improving direct patient care.
Dr Mark Temple, Future Hospital officer and consultant physician said:
The Future Hospital report received wide support from patients, NHS staff and healthcare leaders when it was published in September 2013. The Royal College of Physicians is committed to taking the key recommendations in the report from the page to clinical practice.
The selection of the first four Future Hospital development sites is an exciting stage in the realisation of the Future Hospital vision. The evaluation of new ways of delivering healthcare at these sites is important for patients, carers and healthcare staff, as the results will be shared widely to help enhance patient care in the NHS.
Dr Adam Gordon, Honorary Secretary of the British Geriatrics Society, said:
The focus of the report of the Future Hospital Commission on delivering high quality care to patients with multi morbidity and frailty was very welcome. It’s great to see that these first four development sites have a strong focus on optimising care for older people, with geriatricians and their specialist multidisciplinary teams playing a key role. A challenge for implementation of the Future Hospital recommendations going forward will be ensuring that other hospital specialists interface with and support these types of services. All physicians need to recognise the importance of supporting the acute medical take if we are to make the strides forward in quality which the report envisaged.