Out of hospital for Winter: Winter Pressures initiatives

We’re now in the ‘Winter Pressure’ time of year, when all health and social care partners are focused on working together to make sure that people in Warwickshire are getting the right support at the right time in the right place.

It’s particularly important to make sure people are safely discharged from hospital in a timely manner during Winter, when there are extra pressures on health and social care.

Help us ensure individuals are ‘Out of hospital this Winter’ with the right support in place – take a look at our ‘Winter Pressure’ initiatives in Warwickshire and share these messages with your staff.

Care home providers should make sure that they have sufficient staffing levels to respond promptly to hospital referrals and to undertake preliminary ‘assessments of need’ within 24 hours of referral.

It can be particularly challenging for care homes to meet these timescales during the winter pressure period. This is where our Care Homes Trusted Assessors can assist in carrying out preliminary assessments of potential new residents awaiting hospital discharge on your behalf.

There is now a dedicated team of Trusted Assessors located in the hospital in the hospital social care team. They can carry out ‘assessments of need’ on behalf of care home providers in an informed and trusted manner. This helps make sure that people are discharged to the right care setting in a timely fashion, while freeing up time for care homes staff to focus on running their service and providing care for existing residents.

You can contact the Trusted Assessors directly (to refer for an assessment or just if you want to find out more), by emailing carehometrustedassessors@warwickshire.gov.uk.


There is a service available on NHS 111 for nursing care home staff who may be unsure about which pathway to take next for an unwell resident.

Simply dial 111 and press 6 when prompted to be put through to an appropriate healthcare professional – this includes GPs, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, mental health professionals, dental nurses and pharmacists.

EMS Plus is an online tool which allows care home providers to enter information regarding their bed vacancies on a daily basis.

EMS is the preferred bed availability tool for both health and social care professionals. It provides staff with one place to access the most up to date picture regarding care home occupancy across the county. The system therefore improves flow through the system by ensuring that care home vacancies can be quickly be accessed wherever possible and people are discharged efficiently to the right care setting.

The benefits of EMS Plus for providers include:

  • Quick and easy to use system to enter bed availability in one place
  • Reduced time spent fielding multiple enquiries regarding bed availability
  • Maximising occupancy by filling vacant beds as quickly as possible
  • The information can be amended as soon as availability changes

We aim for all older people’s care homes to be using EMS by the 31st March 2020.

The system is free to use for providers and full training and support is provided. If you still need to get registered on EMS, or need help around using the system, please contact Lorna Allen on lornaallen@warwickshire.gov.uk or 07769 145566.

Care home providers should also ensure that their EMS data is kept up to date over the Christmas period to assist throughout the crucial ‘Winter Pressure’ time of year. Please also get in touch if you require any extra user accounts creating to ensure continuity around updating the system.

Hospital to Home is delivered by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and commissioned by Warwickshire County Council.

The service is aimed at individuals who are medically fit to go home following their treatment within A&E, but may require transport and support to settle when they return home (which includes those living in residential and nursing homes) and prevent an unnecessary admission into hospital.

The service has been operational since August 2018 and is available at the following A&E departments:

  • South Warwickshire Foundation Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital

The service is operational;

  • 10am – 12 am
  • 7 days a week
  • 365 days a year

How it works

  • Team of 40 staff across two teams
  • Teams based at Bedworth and Leamington Spa fire stations
  • Two vehicles equipped with wheelchair, AED, transfer equipment

The service operates an on-call function and aims to arrive at the referring A&E department within 60 minutes of the referral being made.

On arrival, Hospital to Home staff work with A&E staff to ensure that the patient has their personal belongings, any discharge documents or letters and any prescribed medication that the A&E consultant has given them. Contact will be made with the person’s care home to make sure sufficient staffing is available to admit them back.

If you would like to learn more about this service please contact Keith McDermott, Station Commander (Fire Prevention and Arson) keithmcdermott@warwickshire.gov.uk.

As we enter Winter, it is important to be aware of the increasing incidence of respiratory illness, including flu, within care homes.

Residents should receive their flu vaccination from their GP surgeries – care home providers should make sure this is documented on their care notes.

NHS England have also made free flu vaccinations available for all health and social care staff – these can be accessed via their own GP or through the local pharmacy with proof of employment status, i.e. name badge, pay slip etc. Managers should record this in staff’s profiles.

Care home managers should also make sure that their staff are provided with the necessary equipment and PPE to ensure that infection control is carried out effectively. Useful infection control resources can be found on the Care Homes: Infection Prevention and Control area of the www.gov.uk website:


Providers of care and support services have a duty to report all outbreaks of flu or norovirus to Public Health England by ringing 0344 225 3560 option 2 both in and out of hours.

Stay at home this Winter

We are also running a public campaign, ‘Stay at home this Winter’, featuring a number of health messages to encourage self-care, getting the right support at the right time, and sickness prevention measures to help people avoid a hospital stay this Winter. Please help us to share these.