Health chiefs have admitted they are working on a number of ways to tackle longer than expected hospital stays after a hospital guide pinpointed Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust as one of the least efficient in the country.
Dr Foster, an independent company that researches health matters, has published its analysis of NHS performance data and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which runs the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble hospitals, has performed worse than expected for long stay surgical and elderly patients.
The hospital guide which also also looked at death rates, found that Lancashire Teaching Hospitals came within the expected range against the four mortality measures: deaths following hospital treatment, deaths while in hospital care, deaths after surgery and deaths in low risk conditions.
However, in the hospital efficiency analysis, Lancashire is rated as one of the least efficient trusts after looking at factors such as re-admissions within a week, re-admissions within 28 days, long stay eldery patients, long stay surgical patients, excess bed days, outpatients rates of follow-up and operations not performed at the weekend.
Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says a lot of work is going on. She said: “Our aim is to provide excellent care with compassion and during the past year we have implemented a range of actions to improve patient experience and outcomes.
“Our Enhanced Recovery Programme, which aims to support elective surgical patients to get back on their feet promptly after an operation, has already had a positive impact on length of stay and health outcomes.
“We recognise that there is room for improvement in other aspects of efficient care and treatment, and have recently established a multi-disciplinary proactive elderly care team which will undertake comprehensive assessments, including dementia screening, of all patients aged 75 years and over who are admitted for any emergency care or treatment.
“This new service will improve patient experience and outcomes and support patients and their families to access more easily the health and social care services they need in the community after a hospital stay.
“We have improved our discharge process to ensure inpatients can go home with appropriate support when it is clinically safe and appropriate for them to do so reducing re-admission rates and length of stay, and improving capacity to enable more patients to access hospital care promptly.”
Richard Jones, executive director of adult and community services at Lancashire County Council, said: “We have implemented a new social work screening and assessment service to support early and safe discharge and have developed new low level prevention services that can be accessed by a range of community clinicians and practitioners that are preventing escalation into crisis and avoiding unnecessary admissions into the hospital.”
Heather Tierney-Moore, chief executive of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are working with our partners to develop a range of services to ensure people who do not require hospital treatment can access care in the community and at home.
“Together we are developing a range of support for people who have experienced a stroke to make sure they can access the best possible care from initial treatment to rehabilitation and ongoing support to regain their independence.”