Use of OPTICA in Integrated Single Point of Access (ISPA) NTHFT

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The team in the Integrated Single Point of Access (ISPA), known nationally as the Transfer of Care Hub, receives all the referrals from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and other surrounding hospitals for patients who require ongoing community services on discharge. The role of ISPA is to support the hospital discharges by identifying the services needed, for example identifying a suitable bed or care package and to ensure that the discharge pathway identified meets the needs of the patient.


OPTICA supports this by providing ISPA with live up to date information on who is ready for discharge from North Tees and Hartlepool FT and who is not as well along with the proposed discharge pathway. OPTICA helps ISPA understand the progress of each patient’s discharge and who needs to do what next.

Medical staff with patient


  • OPTICA has replaced the daily list forwarded from the Trust. On receipt of this list, it was often out of date; for example, the criteria to reside changed straight after it was received. A long time would be spent sourcing services only to find out when contact was made with the discharging ward that they were now not medically ready for discharge. The resource identified could have been used for another patient who was ready.
  • As soon as the system is updated by the hospital teams, OPTICA shows this. Less time is wasted on patients who are not ready, this time can then be spent on the next person who is.
  • More productive daily discharge meetings as information is continuously updated. The meeting is more about checking facts and discussing patients rather than updating information.
  • OPTICA has reduced the number of calls to the discharge team and the wards.
  • With OPTICA, there is less back and forth checking who has done what for discharges. It is much clearer now who needs to do what next and this allows for greater productivity. 

OPTICA allows us to access up-to-date discharge information without having to go through hundreds of patients records/spreadsheets or waiting for the hospital to update us on which patients we need to work with. Having this information within a few clicks is amazing and something we could never do before.

It increases collaboration with system colleagues. Discharge is all about collaboration and partner relationships and this sometimes has resulted in a blame culture. OPTICA has improved this as we have a clearer understanding of the information and who needs to do what next to progress the discharge.

In terms of impact on patient care, the quicker we get people out of hospital the better as no one wants to be in hospital any longer than they need to and OPTICA helps us to do this.

Olwen Ervine

Senior Occupational Therapist, Integrated Single Point of Access (ISPA), North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust