20.1. The Committee considered a report on the plans across East Sussex to deal with seasonal demand surges, extreme weather and other issues associated with the winter months. The Committee then asked the witnesses present a number of questions.
20.2. The Committee asked how much additional funding had been made available for the winter period and whether it was designated for specific areas of spend, for example, improving Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC) rates
20.3. Mark Stainton explained that local authorities and the NHS both receive separate allocations of winter funding from the Department of Health in recognition that there is a need to increase resources in both social care and health to maintain patient flow. Jessica Britton said that the Local Accident & Emergency Delivery Board (LAEDB) agrees jointly how the funding is allocated. She said she would confirm to the Committee the exact allocation the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Sussex received for the winter period via email.
20.4. Mark Stainton confirmed that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) had received approximately £2.3m of winter funding to be spent on reducing DTOC. He said that DTOC had now been consistently low in East Sussex for a long period of time, so the money was being directed towards the cohort of patients who are not yet DTOC patients but who, if nothing is done, could become classified as such. These are the patients who are medically optimised to be moved through the Discharge to Assess pathways, so the winter money was being spent on increasing the capacity of the Discharge to Assess pathways via spot purchasing nursing home beds and increasing homecare capacity.
20.5. Joe Chadwick-Bell said that the contract agreement between East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) and the CCGs included dedicated winter funding of approximately £4-5m. This money has been allocated by the trust to a number of schemes, such as opening additional acute and community beds; recruiting additional therapy staff to assist with the Discharge to Assess pathway; and extending the opening hours of pharmacies on the acute hospital sites to seven days.
20.6. The Committee asked what additional capacity will be available for the Discharge to Assess pathways
20.7. Mark Stainton explained that ESCC is purchasing 10 additional nursing home beds from the independent sector for the duration of the winter period. This will increase the capacity of the Discharge to Assess pathway for people with a range of more complex needs who can be discharged from a hospital bed but need to be assessed in an intermediate bed before being discharged back home or to residential care. He said some of the beds were already opened and the remainder would be opened on 24th December alongside ESHT’s additional acute and community beds.
20.8. Mark Stainton added that for the Home First Discharge to Assess pathway – discharging people directly to their own homes for assessment – the ... view the full minutes text for item 20