Monday, January 28, 2008

Deciding to admit or admitting to decide?

This afternoon was fascinating. Seven members of the KCC Cabinet, including myself, visited Kent and canterbury Hospital, where the Chief Executive of the East Kent Hospitals Trust showed us around various units. The hospital boasts a newly-built multi-million pounds renal dialysis unit with thirty beds, a new operating theatre suite in the old Pfizer wing, and a new children's wing - the "Pink Palace" - which caters for children with both physical and learning disabilities.

Innovation was clearly at the forefront of a major service reorganisation, intended to provide an efficient model of care. There is no longer a traditional "Accident and Emergency" at Kent and Canterbury. Instead paramedics are trained in precisely which East Kent hospital each case should be taken to, depending on their condition. Scarce resources are then concentrated, rather than spread too thinly.

Of most pride though, was the Clinical Decision Unit, or CDU. The idea here is that patients will be admitted, be assessed, and begin an appropriate course of treatment either in hospital or in their own home, all within twenty four hours.

The new ethos, we were told, was one of "deciding to admit" rather than the old "admitting to decide". From the results that the East Kent Trust seem to be achieving, their approach is working.

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