Independent social care providers have pivotal role to play, asserts Revitalise.
National disabled people’s charity Revitalise – which provides essential respite breaks for disabled people and carers at three accessible centres – has come out in support of Lord Carter’s proposal for hospitals within NHS England to invest in order to overcome the problem of delayed discharge (so-called ‘bed-blocking’).
The charity is holding up social care as a pivotal area for attention and is championing the cause of strategic partnerships between the NHS and specialist independent providers – such as Revitalise – as a means of improving outcomes and reducing costs.
Revitalise is inviting proposals from NHS Trusts with a view to exploring partnership possibilities and is citing its ongoing partnership with the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre (NWRSIC), part of the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, as an exemplar of such partnership working.
In the first initiative of its kind in England, the charity’s Sandpipers respite centre in Southport has been working in partnership with the NWRSIC to provide a step-down service for patients recovering from major spinal trauma.
An evaluation by the Unit revealed some outstanding outcomes, reflecting Lord Carter’s suggestion. The patients recovered faster and were discharged on average 17 days ahead of schedule, freeing up much-needed hospital beds for more acute patients. Overall, the first year of the scheme realised a saving of £1.92m for the North West health economy as a whole and a saving of £2.8m is predicted for 2014-15.
Revitalise is now close to completing the first stage of an ambitious expansion plan with the expected launch of a new centre in the vicinity of Evesham, Worcestershire, with a further centre in Yorkshire under discussion. The charity is therefore inviting proposals from the NHS with a view to exploring wider partnership possibilities, not only in the West Midlands and Yorkshire regions but also in the vicinities of its three existing centres in Chigwell, Essex, Southampton and Southport.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“We welcome Lord Carter’s proposal and believe we have proven the central role that responsible independent providers can play in supporting the NHS, without compromising its core mission and values.
“Our partnership with the NWRSIC clearly demonstrates that working in this way improves patient outcomes, reduces delayed discharge and saves the NHS and regional economies significant sums of money.
“Now we want to widen the scope of this project and provide a service for anyone who no longer requires a hospital bed but who may not be quite ready to return home. Our centres are ideally suited to providing a service of this kind.
“In our view, schemes like this serve as a great example of a charity fulfilling an urgent and demonstrable need within the NHS, by providing an essential community-based service with proven benefits to patients.
“I would therefore relish the opportunity to sit down with Lord Carter to discuss how we can work together in a mutually beneficial way and, more importantly, ensure better outcomes for patients.”