HSJ analysis (requires subscription) of the 53 trusts which are due to receive a share of the £250m winter pressure fund shows many are prioritising improvements to the care of older people with frailty.
The Department of Health recently announced beneficiaries would be bringing in extra staff and beds in acute and community settings in order to tackle winter pressures on A&E departments, at a time increasing numbers of trusts have been failing to hit the flagship four-hour waiting time target.
However, in a panel discussion at last week’s Hospital Directions conference several chief executives argued their main A&E-related concern was not winter. Instead, increasing numbers of older patients with complex conditions put strain on the system.
East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust chief executive Stuart Bain said: “Over 30 per cent of patients in our hospitals need care for confusion right up to dementia, they’re there for acute illness [dementia] which was not the case 20 years’ ago. My staff are not well trained for mental health.”
He added: “We need to train our GPs to care for the elderly, rather than A&E departments.”