Community specialist paramedic Carol Robertson is among those featured in the video.
Community specialist paramedic Carol Robertson is among those featured in the video.
Local campaign aimed at freeing up hospital beds wins regional award
13 November 2018

A local campaign aimed at keeping hospital beds free for those who really need them this winter has won a regional award.

The ‘HelpingFlo’ campaign, run by East Cheshire NHS Trust in conjunction with local health and care partners, won the final of ‘Region’s Got Talent’ – a competition hosted by regulator NHS Improvement to share ideas and innovative ways of working across health trusts.  

HelpingFlo was voted the best out of a pool of entrants by peers from across NHS Improvement’s North Region attending its ‘Action on A&E’ programme. Central to the campaign is a video featuring local NHS and social care staff explaining how patients and members of the public can help free up hospital beds for those who really need them, via five top tips and a fictitious patient called Flo.

Flo is an elderly patient currently waiting in A&E because no beds are available in the wider hospital, despite a number of patients in those beds being ready for discharge. Flo appears at key points in the video which highlight the five top tips for freeing up hospital beds.

The five top tips are:

  • Don’t assume you/ your relative will be admitted even if your GP refers you for urgent hospital assessment. Sometimes GPs refer people directly to hospital for assessment and they will often be taken in an emergency ambulance. However they may well be discharged after appropriate investigation, so it’s vital they have relatives/carers ready to help get them back home in a timely manner.
  • Please prioritise collecting your relatives or friends as soon as they are ready to be discharged. Any delay in a patient being collected by a relative or carer once ready for discharge, even for just a few hours, can impact on the availability of beds for other people. Patients are usually ready for collection by 11am on their day of discharge.
  • Ensure you/your relative has the right footwear, clothes and essential belongings if they are admitted. This can help prevent falls and keep patients as active and mobile as safely possible, which may in turn shorten the length of their overall admission.
  • Please consider that ongoing care/assessment after leaving hospital may not be as close to home as you would like. If you turn down ongoing care because it is not as close to home as you would like, it could mean that no bed is available for a poorly patient in A&E who really needs it. And while you are waiting for an alternative to become available, you may also be missing out on important therapy to aid your rehabilitation.
  • Please make sure all practical arrangements are in place for your discharge. Please make us aware of any help you might need with issues like transport and help at home well in advance of your discharge so this does not delay your discharge. 

John Wilbraham, Chief Executive of East Cheshire NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted that the HelpingFlo campaign has received this great recognition.

“We now want as many people locally to watch the video to understand how they can help us to manage the challenges we can expect over winter and ensure that hospital beds are available for people who need them when they need them.”

The initiative is also being promoted on social media using the hashtag #HelpingFlo

The video can be accessed here on the trust’s website, together with another video aimed at NHS and social care staff. Look out for further updates over the coming weeks and months.