Winter is a busy time for the health system with many people exposed to illnesses such as cold and flu.
"Maintaining Performance" initiatives, facilitated under the Whole of Health Program, bring together all relevant stakeholders including local health districts, specialty health networks, Ambulance Service of NSW and HealthShare NSW to drive the delivery of truly integrated care during peak demand. Each district, network and hospital has internal escalation processes to cope with potential increased demand. This project presents an opportunity to approach the winter peak from an integrated State perspective.
The Whole of Health Program has assisted in making significant improvements in patient access to care. The aim is that this initiative will compliment this success and help ensure that measures, such as the improved Emergency Treatment Performance 4 hour treatment benchmark, are sustainable when presented with the inevitable increased pressures of winter.
Escalation planning and winter demand management strategies
Demand Escalation is a system wide approach to pre-emptively initiate actions to manage capacity shortfalls at times of high demand, such as during winter.
Escalation plans are essential, structured operational documents designed to be used as required.
There are two types of Escalation Plans:
- Capacity Action Plan (CAP): Based on predicted demand and capacity mismatches e.g. capacity shortfalls in the next 7 to 10 days using the Predictive Tool. Winter demand management strategies are examples of a CAP as they are preparation and planning tools which are in place for a finite period of time and are targeted and innovative.
- Short Term Escalation Plan (STEP): Activated in response to trigger points e.g. Emergency Department (ED) Transfer of Care (ToC) delays that are well understood by all relevant staff in the organisation and use a whole of hospital approach.
For further information please refer to the background paper Winter 2015 - Maintaining Performance.