The chief executive of three NHS trusts says ringfencing elective care within an acute hospital site is potentially more ‘productive’ than sending it to a separate ‘cold’ site.
Glen Burley, who leads a “provider group” in the West Midlands, says his trusts have been grappling with the challenge of how to maximise elective activity without it being disrupted by emergency pressures.
The conventional view – as outlined in the NHS long-term plan – is that performing more elective care on a separate site from emergency can help ensure theatre lists are not disrupted.
But George Eliot Trust, which has been led by Mr Burley since 2018 and only has a single district general hospital, has created a “ringfenced” elective hub within the site.
In an interview with HSJ, Mr Burley said: “So I actually think the most productive model in the NHS is if you can pull that off.
“If you can actually protect your elective capacity and offer it on the same site [as] urgent care, so the clinicians are not having to move between sites, you’ve got optimal productivity.
“The challenge right across the NHS has been avoiding that spillage, of emergency care into your elective capacity.
“As you get busier and you escalate… the order in which you encroach into areas that you should not encroach into, is really key in that. We are saying we are going to protect our elective beds in a way that we haven’t done before."
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Source: HSJ, 14 March 2022