Warm Homes Healthy People (WHHP) – Suffolk Coastal District Council

Working with Ipswich Hospital’s complex discharge planning team, WHHP identified patients at risk of delayed discharge, or already delaying discharge due to faulty or inadequate heating in their home. WHHP delivered direct interventions to enable patients to be discharged as quickly as possible, including loan heaters, funding fuel payments and arranging heating repairs. A home visit helped to identify any other issues that could lead to re-admission and signposted to appropriate agency to deliver solutions .This could include repairs, fire safety assessments, financial advice and befriending.

Gary Crockett said that it was imperative to work with the operation centre, ward matrons, discharge planning team, sisters, nurses and board managers  within Ipswitch hospital in order to establish reasons why somebody was unable to be discharged and create interventions such as oil deliveries, small repairs and loan heaters.

The rationale for the project was Delayed transfers of care are estimated to cost the NHS £270 million a year (Monitor & Trust Development Agency). In 2014/15 there were 1.6 million delayed transfer days in England (House of Commons briefing paper, Number 7415, 2nd of December 2015). Of these delayed discharges 48,642 were due to housing (awaiting equipment or adaptations). A number of these (not separately recorded) will be due to poor or faulty heating. It costs the NHS roughly £400 to keep a patient in a hospital bed per day.

The funding from the WASH awards enabled Suffolk Coastal District Council to assist 33 patients with a small measures heating grant (averaging £300). A conservative time frame from engineer call out to completion of works is roughly 7 days, this delay would cost the NHS £2800, assuming the patient’s heating had to be assessed and fixed before them being discharged. This is was a potential saving to the Trust of £92,400.

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