The service has already saved hundreds of thousands of pounds for the NHS trusts involved.
The Community Assessment Lounge at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was developed by physio Cate Leighton after trust managers asked her to develop a scheme that would cut hospital admissions for patients aged over 65.
Despite being developed from scratch in only six weeks, within its first month-and-a-half the lounge kept more than 150 patients from being unnecessarily admitted to hospital.
Ms Leighton estimates that this will have saved the three trusts behind the project at least £300,000, and now she’s hopeful that the service, which is currently a pilot, will be commissioned on a longer term basis.
The lounge runs from 9am to 9pm daily and is operated on behalf of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, community providers Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Patients are cared for in the lounge until they can be transferred into appropriate community care or discharged entirely.
The scheme has so far been entirely funded through the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation payment framework, and Ms Leighton hopes the scheme will be broadened to include other categories of patient.
‘It’s a great example of three trusts and staff, regardless of their employer, working together for the common good of patients,’ said Ms Leighton.
A physiotherapist has managed to create a new service in just six weeks.