Plans developed to cope with winter pressure on NHS in Brighton and Hove

Hove Town Hall (photo from Google Maps Street View)
Hove Town Hall (photo from Google Maps Street View)

As winter is coming, draft plans to deal with the increased demands on medical services are going before Brighton and Hove health chiefs.

The plan is being developed by the local A&E (accident and emergency) delivery board.

The board is made up of representatives from Brighton and Hove City Council as well as health and social care providers across the area.

It builds on experiences from previous years in an attempt to improve the response to demands on health services during winter.

A report going before the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board next Tuesday (10 September) said that last winter was “very challenging” for Brighton and Hove.

Key parts of the winter plan include infection control and flu vaccination, mental health and social care services as well as increasing capacity during the Christmas and new year period.

Medical staff across are being encouraged to have flu vaccines.

Successes from last year include introducing street mental health triage services in Brighton and Hove from early December, to establish the treatment and help that people need.

By working closely with care homes, bed-blocking decreased as more people could be discharged into the social care system.

This year there has been more investment in South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) to improve ambulance response time.

Also by November, people should be able to book a doctor’s appointment via NHS 111.

There is also more spending on mental health services, including Core 24, crisis response and home treatment teams and the opening of a new 24/7 psychiatric decision unit.

The report to the board said: “Last winter was very challenging for Brighton and Hove system but the system was able to maintain a focus on patient safety.

“There are a number of lessons that have been identified that informed the development of the plan for this winter.”

It said that a “peer review” had “identified a number of opportunities to strengthen partnership working” and that all “system partners” were committed to this.

The report added: “The development of a ‘whole system’ approach to capacity and demand planning for winter will significantly strengthen our plans.

“However, it is recognised that the system remains a challenged system and there is an improvement journey that needs to be continued to deliver the best possible services to the residents of Brighton and Hove.

“It is also important that, as a system, we effectively support our staff during the challenging winter period.”

The board is due to meet next Tuesday at Hove Town Hall. The meeting, which should be in public, is scheduled to start at 4pm.