‘Red bags’ to be rolled out across England’s care homes getting patients home from hospital quicker

Innovative ‘red bags’ that help care home residents admitted to hospital be discharged quicker are being rolled out across the country.

The bags, which contain key paperwork, medication and personal items like glasses, slippers and dentures, are handed to ambulance crews by carers and travel with patients to hospital where they are then handed to the doctor.

The simple initiative started three years ago in Sutton, South West London, and now all areas of the country are being urged to adopt the scheme with a toolkit launched today to help.

It’s an example of how the NHS is integrating care, working in partnership with social care, to create a seamless pathway for patients so they only have to tell their story once.

Since April, the first parts of the country formally begin to work as integrated care systems, a key milestone as England makes the biggest national move to integrate care of any major western country.

So far the initiative in Sutton has showed:

  • Reduced hospital stays by three to four days, saving £167,000 a year
  • Stopped patients losing personal items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids worth £290,000 in a year
  • Improved communication between care home and hospital staff saving time, resources and duplication

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