The Unplanned Admissions Consensus Committee is a collaborative body set up to assess how continence care can be more efficient and patients can receive better treatment. The aim of the Committee is to transform continence care through sharing best practice.
The Committee is made up of nurses, patient groups, NHS Improvement, and healthcare professionals and shares industry connections with Bard Limited, a medical device manufacturer serving the healthcare sector in the UK.
More and more patients are visiting Accident and Emergency (A&E) units which is stretching the ability of the NHS to manage demand. Preventable emergency admissions have risen by 40% in a decade. In 2012-13 there were 5.3 million emergency admissions to hospitals, representing around 67% of hospital bed days in England and costing the NHS approximately £12.5 billion. The pressures on the service each year have led to almost annual ‘winter crisis’ as the number of people requiring emergency admissions increase, which in turn leads to delays in patients being discharged back into the community.
Reducing these pressures has been a long-term ambition for politicians and senior NHS officials but significant progress has yet to be realised. The NHS will not be able to cope with a continuing increase in demand unless it is successful in treating more people in the community.
One area where admissions have increased is around urinary tract infections (UTIs) and blocked urinary catheters. UTIs are the second-largest single group of healthcare-associated infections in the UK, accounting for 19.7% of all hospital acquired infections. The NHS spent £434 million in 2013/14 on treating 184,000 patients in unplanned admissions associated with a UTI and 39% of patients with blocked catheters ended up being admitted to hospital.
These conditions cause pain, avoidable pro-longed stay in hospital and, in some cases, even death. As well as a serious cost issue, this is also a quality of life issue for so many patients and their families.
A committee of nurses, patients, and healthcare professionals have come together to discuss these issues and share best practice. There are parts of the country where innovative solutions and earlier interventions are being piloted and these trials are reducing costs and improving lives. We believe that through sharing best practice and highlighting areas for improvement care for patients can be improved and the financial burden of unplanned admissions tackled.
Our vision is clear. We want to contribute to the search for efficiencies and savings. We want to be part of the solution in ensuring the NHS can cope with rising demand as a result of unplanned admissions. We want to share our experiences and do what we can to improve patient’s lives.