Building a hospital fit for the future
The design of the new hospital takes into account the expected future demand for care – based on a growing and ageing population – and how services can be best provided across both hospital and community-based services.
To support the design for the new hospital, the modelling that was undertaken showed that, were there to be no improvements in the planning and delivery of hospital and community services, the level of demand on the hospital would be significantly higher in 2028/29 than in 2018/19. This highlights the importance of planning and delivering service improvements properly, to improve health outcomes and to make sure we have a new Whipps Cross Hospital fit for future generations.
An ‘integrated delivery framework’
An “integrated delivery framework” (IDF) has been established to monitor the progress of those service transformation programmes that will have the biggest impact on the size and scope of the new hospital. It is overseen by senior people from Whipps Cross Hospital, the local integrated care board, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (the provider of community
services) and both local authorities (Waltham Forest and Redbridge).
As part of this monitoring, an IDF annual report was recently produced. It provides information about hospital and community-based services and progress with specific service transformation work. The report will also inform the continual evaluation of the assumptions made about the design of the new Hospital, including the number of overnight inpatient beds.
2022/23 Annual Progress Report
The annual progress report is split into three themes and demonstrates that there has been varying levels of change in activity and trends across the system.
Three key findings
For each IDF theme a ‘primary metric’ was selected as an overall measure of demand and activity in that area of care. The three primary metrics are:
- The number of people presenting at Whipps Cross Hospital with urgent and emergency care needs
- The number of unplanned (also called non-elective) admission to Whipps Cross Hospital
- The average length of stay of those people admitted to the hospital
Looked at together, these three metrics can provide a broad picture of activity across both community-based and hospital services.
It would be wrong to reach premature conclusions based on the data and information in the report. But we should expect that the delivery of transformation programmes - even for those still in early stages - is likely to have contributed to some of the progress seen during 2022/23.
The number of inpatient beds in the new Whipps Cross
The report does not look at hospital capacity, either now or in the future, so does not provide data or reach conclusions on the number of inpatient overnight beds. However, the report will be one source of information for the evaluation of future demand and capacity projections.
As we move closer to the delivery of the new Whipps Cross, it will be important to develop a better understanding of the data set out in the annual progress report.
For example, further work is needed to better understand the reasons for the apparent fall in hospital admissions, the increase in average length of stay between 2021/22 and 2022/23, and the extent to which waiting times for urgent and emergency care are impacted by the number of available open beds.
We have said previously that the flexible design of the new hospital means that we can respond to new data and emerging trends to accommodate up to 600 beds in the new hospital if it proves necessary.