Bosses across the county's health groups are celebrating record times for discharging patients from the two main hospitals in the area.

In March, to help combat Covid-19, the government issued new guidance on getting recovered patients out of hospital and home quicker.

This led to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (Shropcom) joining forces to reduce the time patients wait for discharge support services by an average of two-and-a-half days.

The work, aided by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils, has led to a successful multiagency and multi-disciplinary process for the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales.

Nigel Lee, chief operating officer at SaTH, said: “As soon as a patient is deemed medically fit, there should be no delay in getting them home. Any hour spent in hospital without needing to, is an hour too many.

“The team is proud to have worked together bringing expertise from all areas of health and social care practice to establish the integrated discharge hub for the patients of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. The aim was to improve the process of getting people home, reduce bed capacity when it’s not needed and to enhance patient experience.

"We have certainly done that, and we will now be looking to how we can embed this into our ways of working for the future, beyond COVID-19.”

Claire Old, senior responsible Officer for Discharge at SaTH added: "Our community teams, local care homes and domiciliary agencies have pulled out the stops to support our patients when they get back home or to their normal place of residence.

"We’ve all be so proud to be part of this caring health and social care system.”

An Integrated Discharge Hub was launched to provide rapid access to discharge services once a patient is ready to leave hospital.

All referrals are now made by telephone, triaged and discharge arrangements organised by the multi-professional team, with the aim of discharge taking place on the same day whenever possible.

For the first time, all partners working as part of the Integrated Discharge Hub are co-located at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, and the service is provided seven-days-a-week.

This new way of working provides an enhanced discharge process and the support offered will improve patient experience.

To date, the Hub has received 1,367 complex discharge referrals, and the team focuses on a ‘home first’ philosophy.

Many patients are able to return home with wrap-around support, within hours of being told by the doctor they are able to be discharged.

For those who need complex health and social care support the team has achieved a 67 per cent improvement in the time patients wait to be discharged, reducing the average waiting time from four to one and a half days. This reflects a huge improvement in supporting people to leave hospital as soon as safely possible, and to the right place of care.

Mike Carr, deputy director of operations at Shropcom, said: “We were fully committed to this important initiative, and redeployed colleagues from a variety of services to create this enhanced discharge offer for patients.

"Now we must all look at how we can build on this together over the weeks and months ahead as we look to shape healthcare beyond the pandemic. Our desire is to take the positives from this crisis and develop our services accordingly.”