Home is where the heart is

A lot of the focus of some of my recent meetings has been around ways we can help our patients get home sooner which has got me thinking about how much I might be pining for home comforts in September when I do the coast to coast challenge.

Before I talk about our work to get patients home sooner I just wanted to say thank you to all our staff and member practices for their hard work in establishing and developing our organisation. This is because our latest assurance meeting with NHS England has confirmed that we are meeting our objectives as a clinical commissioning group.

Evidence shows us that patients make a better recovery if they leave hospital as soon as they’re well enough to do so, provided they have the right support in place.

To do this we are looking at building on our existing hospital to home project we have been running with Age UK and the British Red Cross. We are speaking to Age UK about a project that will help our GP practices to support patients in the community so that they can receive care at home rather than being referred to hospital.

We have established a task and finish group to look at how we can reduce delayed transfers of care which means that a small number of patients cannot be discharged from hospital even though they are ready to go home. This is because we know these patients will need additional support when they leave hospital and we have a duty to ensure that the right services are in place before we discharge them.

The task and finish group is investigating the current provision of beds for people with challenging health issues and behaviours such as those patients with dementia. We are also looking at the provision of specialised equipment which can prevent people being discharged sooner and we need to consider if there are better options for where and when patients are assessed.

One of the possible solutions is to ‘discharge to assess’, this means a patient is well enough to go home and can have a further assessment of care needs undertaken in the comfort of their own home. Linked to this is our plans for community beds, at the time of writing we are still working on our strategy but should be able to implement this very soon.

Leeds has been selected by the Department of Health as a national champion site for wheelchair services. I recently visited the wheelchair, prosthetics and orthotics service at Seacroft Hospital and was impressed by the fantastic work done by the team. Leeds is unique as it offers an integrated service which means if you need prosthetics as well as a wheelchair the service can be delivered in one day.

Talking of integrated services and care I recently attended a brilliant conference that provided international examples of improvements in primary care that have reduced attendances at A&E as well as other urgent care facilities.

I was particularly impressed by the example from Canterbury in New Zealand as it closely matches plans we have outlined in our primary care strategy. It was reassuring to see how our plans could have a real impact based on the evidence from New Zealand.

Transformation and integration seem to be the key buzz words in health and social care. We are currently reviewing the Leeds Health and Social Care Transformation Programme so that we can be assured that we are on the right tracks. This means we may look to reshape some of the current projects and workstreams. You can find out more about the programme which is now more snappily titled ‘Inspiring Change’ by visiting www.inspiringchangeleeds.org/.

If you have read my previous blogs you will be aware that I sit on the national Safer Staffing Advisory Committee. Our current focus is on setting recommendations for appropriate staffing levels in mental health services.

In other news I visited Whitby over the Easter Bank Holiday and it was the first time I’d experienced the famous fish and chips synonymous with this part of the world – they were gorgeous! This did mean that I needed to get some exercise in and I made sure of it. Not content with walking from Sandsend to Runswick Bay we followed this up with a cycle ride from Whitby to Scarborough, enough to build up an appetite for a second helping of fish and chips (no I didn’t though the temptation was there!).

All this exercise will stand me in good stead as I will be doing the coast to coast challenge from 22-25 September along the Hadrian Wall. The trail covers 124 miles and I’ll be looking to raise money for local hospices in Leeds. More details can be found on my just giving page: www.justgiving.com/p-corrigan

I just wanted to end the blog with a personal thank you to our current Director of Nursing Diane Hampshire who has announced that she will be retiring in August. She has been a huge asset for the organisation and indeed for the NHS locally in a number of roles with a particular focus on safeguarding. Thanks to her efforts we have established a forward thinking CCG. Interviews for her replacement have taken place and we will make an announcement soon.

That’s all for now, look forward to bringing you another update soon.


Philomena Corrigan is the Chief Executive for NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group