The NHS in the North East has developed ‘comprehensive plans’ to manage the expected increase in health-care pressures this winter.
Preparations began earlier than ever, with hospitals, community services, GP practices and other NHS organisations developing plans to deal with demand.
Response-monitoring systems will highlight any issues and help manage patient flow across the region.
Initiatives have been introduced in A&E departments, like direct access to specialists and direct booking for emergency outpatient assessment and care.
Front-door clinical streaming is in place in every major A&E to ensure that patients with non-emergency illnesses are appropriately cared for.
For patients admitted to hospital, timely ward rounds are being prioritised to enable patients to be seen quickly and to return home promptly if they are ready to be discharged.
From December, the British Red Cross will provide an Assisted Discharge scheme at Wansbeck Hospital, supporting discharge, including transport home from hospital, with resettlement assistance provided in the home for up to 48 hours.