A LONG-AWAITED review of emergency care across Worcestershire has taken a step closer to completion.
The Worcester Urgent Care Strategy sets out plans for how emergency healthcare and treatment will be dealt with in future years following falling budgets and increased pressure on hospitals and was developed by a number of health bodies in the county.
The strategy took on board recommendations in last year's report into national healthcare by Sir Bruce Keogh and was presented to a meeting of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust on Wednesday, January 29.
The Trust's chief executive Penny Venables said she was delighted the report - which she said was "even more important" than the currently in-progress review into the three emergency hospitals in Worcestershire - was finally ready after about two years of hard work.
"This is the more fundamental challenge and it has to be successful," she said.
"It is based on care in your own home as much as we can deliver it.
"We can care for frail and elderly people much more do that more successfully if we get them out to their own homes.
"It take so much longer to get the right bed and the right place and elderly people deteriorate in terms of dependency at places like care homes and hospitals."
But she said the plans were "not just about beds".
"The devil's in the details for how we make this happen," she said.
"Its got to be about doing things in a different way."
The report contains a wide range of recommendations aimed at creating closer ties between emergency departments, community hospitals, social care and other elements of healthcare to ensure patients are given the best and most efficient healthcare possible.
A key element of the plans is to ensure patients are not in hospital any longer than they need to be to avoid so-called bed-blocking.
The board's director of strategic development Christine Fearns described it as "a very significant document".
"There are a lot of factors that are important," she said.
"We've got to acknowledge the challenges we face as we try and address these challenges."
But board member Andre Sleigh said it was important as many recommendations were put in place as soon as possible.
"The glacial pace that some things move in the NHS is a real concern," he said.
To view the report visit worcsacute.nhs.uk