In its recent report for The Royal College of Physicians, “Caring for medical patients”, The Future Hospital Commission, under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, recommends the creation of ‘Clinical Co-ordination Centres’ as operational command centres in hospitals.
In particular, the report recommends that the Medical Division should have a greater say in defining patient pathways and identifying patient needs and patterns of clinical demand. This approach would make it possible to achieve a better balance of resources between planned and unplanned care. Specific requests were made for better information on service capacity and patients approaching defined upper waiting times, with these times set by the service.
Mike Singer from The Checklist Partnership comments: “Hospitals now have to find a three-way balance between capacity, demand and waiting list targets. The key to this is having the ability to make accurate predictions two to three months into the future so that the organisation has time to adjust and fix the problem before it happens.”
Unbalanced capacity and demand can be detrimental to patient safety and have costly knock-on effects. Hospitals forfeit payment for operations cancelled on the day and have to pay large penalties if their waiting lists spiral out of control.
The more forward thinking trusts now forecast future failure and put recovery plans into place early and at lower costs than panic solutions.
The full report can be found at http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/