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Coping with Crisis: How The PSC Helped Transform Cornwall’s Health and Care System

It’s early December 2022. The point of the year when the festive period sets in and families and friends start to celebrate and unwind.

Sadly, for colleagues in the Cornwall health and care system there wasn’t much festive cheer. They were faced with unprecedented pressures. Stubbornly high A&E demand and substantial waits for ambulances were compounded by industrial action from ambulance and nursing staff as well as an exceptional cold snap.

Coping with Crisis: How The PSC Helped Transform Cornwall’s Health and Care System

And Cornwall’s health and care system is fairly unique – with a single acute trust and a single community provider. With only one major Emergency Department for the county, any delays in ambulance handovers rapidly causes a ripple effect across the geography.

So our team came in to support the system put plans and actions in place, at pace, to cope with these extreme circumstances.

Working with colleagues from across the Cornwall health and social care system we did three things to get to a plan:

  1. ANALYSIS: Identified the different patient groups and the different parts of the system that were going to be most impacted by the pressures and when
  2. PREDICTION: Modelled out when the impact was likely to be felt and how. We also modelled where the demand for discharge placements across Pathway 0-3 would land (freeing up capacity in the hospital)
  3. COORDINATE: Brought together leaders from across the system to articulate where they saw the biggest risks were to mitigate  

With a mutual understanding of the problems and building on the work the system had already started (building a System Control Centre), we pulled together scenario-based plans which enabled escalation, grounded in Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response principles, with shared actions and accountability across the health and care system.

We also worked with colleagues to build new ways of working so that in moments of escalation they knew that they would be supported to find solutions.

And the outcome? The Cornwall system and its staff coped incredibly well with the Winter 2022/23 pressures, using newfound relationships and surge planning to great effect.

Some unexpected longer-term benefits were that our predictive analytics (using multiple regression techniques to improve the system’s predictive intelligence around increased demand associated with severe weather events) enabled Cornwall to provide accurate forward-looking figures and were used to support a successful bid to NHSE for additional funding.

The PSC Transformation team

The PSC exists to make public services brilliant. Our collaborative tried and tested approach to transforming services is focused on creating meaningful and lasting change. We work together to analyse and diagnose your situation, devise a programme of support, then make it happen. In doing so we empower your people to deliver, unlocking ongoing results. If you would like to talk to our Transformation team about how they can support your planning, please contact Roz Hawley or Louise Kercel here.

Authors

Roz Hawley

Louise Kercel

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