Hospital Dr News

“Toolkit helps physicians meet acute pressures”

A new toolkit to support high quality care for acutely ill patients has been launched by the Royal College of Physicians.

The pressures on acute medical services in NHS trusts are immense, it says, with increasing numbers of patients with medical emergencies are being admitted to hospital, particularly elderly patients with multiple, complex medical conditions.

The RCP says this workload requires care to be organised on the basis of seven-day working and to ensure that sufficient staff with the right skills and expertise are available to not only meet demand, but also provide the best outcomes for patients.

The toolkit highlights the key principles of high quality care applicable to all patients and makes recommendations in relation to six recognised problem areas which include limited acute consultant physician hours in AMU; standardisation of early warning scores to track deteriorating patients and trigger intervention; standardisation of documentation and prescribing; and, poor quality handovers.

The toolkit recommendations include guidance on job plans, rotas, the mix of consultants involved, clinical leadership and teaching.

There’s also advice on implementing the forthcoming National Early Warning Score to identify patients whose condition is deteriorating and take early corrective action.

The toolkit makes particular reference to uniform medical record-keeping across the NHS using standards developed by the RCP’s Health Informatics Unit, and developing and using standardised observation, prescription and fluid balance charts. The importance of high quality handover is also emphasised.

Dr Mark Temple, RCP acute care fellow, said: “The relentless increase in emergency admissions is the number one concern of doctors in the NHS. This pressure is likely to intensify in the next few years and the challenge to all staff is to ensure patient care is consistently safe and of the highest quality.”

Acute care toolkit 2: High quality acute care is the second RCP acute care toolkit, providing practical solutions and recommendations with the aim of improving the care of acutely ill patients.

See the toolkit.

Register for free, CPD-accredited acute and general medicine training here.

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