Winter Flow Project 2020/21
As anyone involved in the delivery of healthcare in 2020 will know, the NHS continues to face significant challenges, not only as a result of resource pressures and demand for its services, but also now as a consequence of the arrival of COVID-19. To highlight these difficulties, and as part of our remit to improve Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) launched the ‘Winter Flow Project’ which concluded its fifth year in March 2020.
The project has succeeded in large part due to the generosity of its contributors. Over 50 NHS Trusts and Health boards from across the UK, submitted data over a six-month period that provided a better understanding of system pressures and patient flow. In politically challenging times, the project has a vital role to play in informing the wider debate around emergency medicine and focusing attention in the media and in Governments in each of the UK nations on the practical challenges faced by Providers as they make every effort provide excellent care for patients.
In our view, the project has also been instrumental in making the case for additional resources for the health sector, which in the recent past has been reflected in additional funding being made available to the NHS.
Given the success of the project in highlighting these issues, the College has decided to continue the project for 2020-21. This year’s project will collect the following data points on a weekly basis:
a) The number of acute beds in service
b) The number of patients spending more than 12 hours in an Emergency Department from arrival to departure
c) The number of patients for whom hospitalisation in an acute trust is no longer medically required
d) The number of unplanned attendances at your Emergency Department(s) each week
e) The number of staff shielding or off-sick each week
f) The number of patients requiring isolation at triage at your Emergency Department(s) each week
We would also like to run a very short survey at the start of the project to establish some key facts about each trust’s Emergency Departments which will allow us make the case for additional funding for sites without adequate resources to deal with any rise in COVID patients this winter.
The project will run from the beginning of October 2020 until the end of March 2021. Once again, all the information submitted will be anonymised and aggregated to provide a system wide picture while avoiding unhelpful scrutiny of individual sites. Moreover, the data will only be discussed in aggregate form.
In addition to contributing to this national picture, as part of our efforts to thank all those who take part, all contributing Trusts and Boards will be given an individual report on their performance within the ‘Winter Flow’ group at the half way point and when the project is concluded.
If you would like to participate in the project, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
by Friday 18 September 2020
. This will allow sufficient time for our policy team to supply any further guidance and help you might need in order to take part.