Winter Pressures

January 22, 2024

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Partnering with the NHS to ease winter pressures

Predicting this winter 

The number of people remaining in hospitals, despite no longer meeting the criteria to reside, is an ongoing and significant concern. With another cold snap and icy conditions across much of the UK, it is more important than ever to improve patient flow; facilitating the safe and efficient discharge of individuals from hospitals is paramount to creating space for new admissions. 

Last week NHS England published its latest performance data. These figures show that across December 2023, an average of 12,610 people remained in hospital despite no longer meeting the criteria to reside. In isolation, this number is concerning, with many hospitals at full capacity, leading to some patients being treated in hospital corridors due to a lack of bed space. 


What is more positive, is that this figure was reduced to 10,876 on Christmas Day. This 14% reduction (compared to the December average) is no Christmas miracle, and many factors will have played a part. Hardworking staff will no doubt have been tireless in their efforts to get patients discharged in time for festive celebrations. Family involvement is a key factor in hospital discharge, and it is likely many families will have been more engaged as they try to get loved ones home for Christmas. 


No matter what the reason, these figures show what can be achieved when all parties rally together and take a tenacious approach to hospital discharge. 

Working with County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to achieve discharge targets 

Since November 2018, CHS Healthcare has proudly worked in partnership with County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT), taking this tenacious approach to alleviate pressures and reduce delays.

Before our teams commenced work, the average delay time across the Trust due to waiting for a care home assessment was 18 hours, constituting 49% of the total delay time. This led to reduced bed availability for incoming patients and a backlog of medically fit people waiting to be discharged.  

 To safely accelerate this, we worked closely with the Trust to design a Trusted Assessor service. This involved experienced clinicians undertaking assessments on behalf of care homes and hospitals, ensuring patients were moved through the process smoothly and seamlessly. 

Supporting the NHS with a guarantee to improve patient flow

Our partnership has reduced the average wait time to 2 hours, allowing for almost double the placements with a reduction in delay times of more than 50%. CHS Healthcare received highly positive feedback regarding our services, and we are pleased to continue to provide our hospital discharge services with Durham County Council, now entering its fifth year. 


“The service provided by CHS Healthcare over the last four years has become a key part of the system. It provides effective support not – just for professionals – but for service users and their families too. CHS’ ability to provide meaningful, up to date and detailed management information ensures an ongoing understanding of what is happening with discharges into care homes and identifies opportunities for discharge improvements.” 


Neil Jarvis, Senior Portfolio Lead, Integrated Strategic Commissioning 


“There has been recognition across the whole system that CHS Healthcare is providing a highly valuable service which is contributing to the improvements we are seeing.” 


– Paul Copeland, Strategic Programme Manager (Adult and Health Services) Integration, Durham County Council


CHS Healthcare is here to help this winter 

Drawing upon our 25 years of knowledge and expertise in hospital discharge, we have crafted a flexible and comprehensive approach to address the challenges that winter presents. Whether it’s the safe and efficient discharge of patients or providing support for individuals in the community to secure onward care without additional costs, we are dedicated to enhancing discharge processes that cater specifically to your needs. We are quick to mobilise and have proven delivery, with an average of 24-hour discharge time.

Talk to us about how we can help you this winter and beyond. Call 0121 362 8840 or email  / 

As originally seen on LinkedIn

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