High praise for “mind-blowing” programme progress

13 December 2023

Government teams and a senior NHS director have praised the work of a programme which is making an enormous difference to older people, and those living with dementia, who need emergency treatment.

Members of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) hospital discharge and dementia policy teams said the work was “really motivating” after spending a day talking to the workforce in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford who are involved in the Discharge Integration Frontrunner Programme, which is testing new ways of better supporting patients who arrive at A&E.

While Jennifer Keane, director of intermediate care and rehabilitation at NHS England, told colleagues at a separate event that the work they were doing was “mind-blowing”.

The NHS England-funded Frontrunner programme is testing new, innovative ways of moving people quicker from hospital to home when they arrive in A&E needing urgent and emergency care. If possible, hospital is avoided altogether and people are supported at home.  

During the DHSC’s trip to Greater Manchester, they visited the Oasis Unit at Rochdale Infirmary and ward eight at Fairfield General Hospital, to see their specialist dementia wards, and also spoke to teams involved in the other tests from the Four Localities Partnership organisations. 

Meanwhile, 90 colleagues attended an event held in Oldham to mark the end of this phase of the Days Kept Away from Home (DKAfH) part of the Frontrunner programme, which promotes early discharges with early planning, keeping patients active and using a strengths-based approach.

Ms Keane spoke to colleagues via Teams and said: “The examples you have shown us are absolutely mind-blowing. Please keep doing the things you are doing, because you can see the benefit to people immediately.”

The DKAfH programme’s overall achievements include:

  • 84 more patients have gone home from the collaborative wards
  • Length of stay has decreased from 8.84 days to 8.28 days (a 0.56 reduction)

Lindsey Darley, Frontrunner’s programme director, said: “It is amazing that the ideas for the pilots, created by individual teams at Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford, are being discussed in Whitehall and could soon be shaping national policy. Everyone involved should be really proud of their work.”

Read more about the Frontrunner programme.

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