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Collaborative working keeps people out of hospital

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In September 2013 the Department of Health made available £150 million that was distributed around England to help hospitals maintain their A&E services during the winter. This was extra to the £250 million targeted to the most vulnerable areas. The extra £150 million was provided to help support plans and projects that aimed to reduce the pressure on A&Es caused by cold weather. I was lucky enough to take up an opportunity to contribute to a project in Birmingham that benefitted from this money.

I was working as a case manager/community matron for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust (BCHT) when the opportunity arose to support a winter plan initiative. The aim was to bring together the skilled community and specialist services throughout Birmingham and the wider West Midlands to support earlier safe discharges of patients from secondary care, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and reduce the length of hospital stays for inpatients.

Case management is a well-established method of integrating services around people with long-term conditions. It promotes a proactive community approach that works with individuals at high risk of hospital admission. Care plans ensure individuals' needs are assessed to enable care delivery to be effectively coordinated on an ongoing basis.

Discharge hub

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