A surge in activity and associated pressures can happen at any time during the year; however the risk is heightened during the winter months when people are more susceptible to illness. Resilience planning and surge management aim to reduce the challenges that health and social care organisations face which affect service delivery, including the balance of emergency and elective activity, together with the flow of patients from admission to secondary care through to discharge.
These challenges may include severe weather, seasonal flu, norovirus and of course the festive public holidays which, in their own right, can place additional pressure on services. To support the operational management of surge pressures the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) developed a whole systems approach to working with its customers and providers of health and social care services by developing an effective package for monitoring, providing intelligence and delivering tools and techniques to operational manage surge pressures.
• A skilled and experienced team to support the operational management of surge pressures
• Tools and techniques to support a whole system approach to surge management
• A locally developed web based tool
• Development of health and social care plans and escalation frameworks
• Models to support admission avoidance, patient flow and discharge
• Policy and pathway review, redesign and implementation
• Support the review of a significant event/incident and identify lessons learned
• Service capacity and demand modelling
How we’ve helped
NECS established a command and control hub managed by a team of highly skilled and experienced individuals in operationally managing surge pressures.
To monitor and react to surge pressures the Resilience Planning, Escalation and Surge Management Team supports Clinical Commissioning Groups across the North East and North Cumbria by:
• Leading daily provider teleconferences, utilising daily situation reports (SITREP) and real time data to co-ordinate a system wide response to surge pressures, in line with agreed escalation plans
• Providing our customers with regular support and delivering regular updates on system wide, local and regional pressures and agreed remedial actions
• On behalf of our customers, providing regular updates to NHS England on North East and Cumbria pressures and remedial actions.
Central to NECS’ whole systems approach to managing surge pressures are our web based tools. The NECS Surge Management Team worked with Clinical Commissioning Groups and health and social care service providers to develop to the Winter Planning, Escalation and Surge Management Website. This tool provides readily accessible information to our customers and service providers across the North East and North Cumbria and enables NECS to co-ordinate communications, provide information on current pressures and remedial actions and to share key policies, procedures and escalation plans. The North East Ambulance Service worked in partnership with NECS to introduce the Flight Deck solution. The Flight Deck is a web portal providing a strategic overview of capacity within hospitals across the North East, number of ambulances on site including their time of arrival and current call volume for NHS 111/ 999 and bed capacity across the region.