Identifying improvements within Community Hospitals

Discharge Destinations 2011/12

As a large, rural area Somerset has 13 community hospitals which make a significant contribution to the overall capacity of, and patient flow through, the local health economy.

The provider, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was able to use the Community Hospitals benchmarking project to demonstrate to commissioners that, whilst the overall investment in community hospitals was 2.6 times the national average (reflecting the local geography), the number of admissions was 3.6 times the national average. The relatively high throughput was achieved through maintaining below average lengths of stay in Somerset’s community hospitals and supported the relatively low utilisation of secondary care in the area.

The comparative data allowed us to identify areas in which there was scope for us to improve against the national average position and also to have some solid information on which to base discussions with commissioners, to help inform the setting of target trajectories for future years.
— Lee Cornell, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Somerset Partnership also used the report to identify areas for improvement. For example, although the benchmarking project showed below average DNA rates at the majority of the community hospitals, one hospital reported a rate almost double the national average. This issue was investigated and rectified using systems already in place at other sites. Review of the destination on discharge profiles for each hospital highlighted one hospital where 23% of patients were being returned to the acute trust (compared with a national average of 11%). The acuity of the patients being sent to this site was investigated in partnership with the acute trust and access criteria clarified.

For more information contact Lucy Trubacik.

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