Care provider celebrates supporting the NHS by reducing bedblocking to zero


A social care provider has been doing its part in helping local hospitals by reducing the number of ‘bed blocking’ patients over the last year. This work is particularly important as the NHS prepares for a seasonal increase in the number of patients needing treatment often referred to as ‘winter pressures’.

In the year between November 2017 and November 2018 Optalis reduced the level of bedblocking, also known as delayed transfers of care, of patients living in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for whom it is responsible, to zero per cent. A delayed transfer of care is defined as ‘when a patient is medically fit for discharge from acute or non acute care and is still occupying a bed.’

This success has been achieved by Optalis staff teams working in partnership with hospitals and the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure residents are supported to leave the hospital with the right support in place at home.

Optalis provides a variety of care and support teams and services, including extra care, homecare, assistive technology, supported housing and occupational therapy as well as short-term support and rehabilitation all of which are able to support the smooth transition from hospital to life after discharge.

The Government Statistical Service reported that in June 2018 there were 134,300 total delayed days in England. The main reason for NHS delays in June was patients awaiting further non-acute NHS care but also included patients awaiting assessment, care packages in their own home or community equipment and adaptations.

Martin Farrow, Optalis’ Chief Executive, commented: “This success is something we are all very proud of at Optalis. We have reduced the number of delays to zero, and we have successfully maintained that level over a sustained period. It is down to our talented and committed team that we have been able to deliver quality care and support, and maintain excellent working partnerships with our health partners.

“This reduction in delays not only benefits those in hospital requiring extra support, but also the NHS by alleviating bed space pressures.”

Cllr Stuart Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, added: “These statistics prove how positive partnerships within health can lead to better outcomes for those who require care and support. Whatever care pathway is required, this delivery model has shown that it relieves pressures on the NHS and ensures individuals are receiving the best care possible after they have been discharged from hospital.”

Established in June 2011, Optalis was only the second local authority trading company of its kind in the country. Today, it is one of the largest with nearly 700 staff providing care and support services across Wokingham, Windsor, Maidenhead and Oxfordshire.

April 2017 saw the social care provider break new ground by becoming the first team in the country to deliver statutory social care from within a trading company.


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