UNISON update – 30 minute handover

Yesterday we met with the Trust over the proposed 30 minute handover, following concerns over the Trust’s announcement in NTK on 12th May, and at the Public board meeting on 25th May: http://ntk.eastamb.nhs.uk/news/a-week-of-positive-feedback-update-from-ceo-robert-morton-12th-may.htm: “Protecting our service to patients has to be at the forefront of everything we do, which is why we’ve taken the decision to implement our 30-minute hospital handover measures from 6th June. Hospital handover delays continue to be a huge problem across the whole region; in simple terms, this measure will mean that if a crew has been waiting to hand over a patient at hospital for more than 30 minutes, and a 999 call comes in for which they are the closest resource, the crew can be instructed to leave the patient at the hospital and respond if the risk to the patient in the community is greater. The measures may seem extreme, but we must make sure that we, and our patients, don’t suffer as a result of extensive hospital handover delays.”

Public board papers 25th May 2016 – 30 minute handover at acutes: “From the 6 June 2016, EEAST intends to implement the 30 minute hospital handover measure to protect patients in the community from handover delays. In simple terms, this will mean that if a crew has been waiting to hand over a patient at hospital for more than 30 minutes, and a 999 call comes in for which they are the closest resource, the crew can be instructed to leave the patient at the hospital and respond, if the risk to the patient in the community is greater. Sandy Brown has sent a letter to all Acute Hospitals, week commencing 9 May 2016 advising of our intention. A protocol and instruction flow chart will be communicated to staff to ensure they are empowered to make decisions at the hospital.”

At the Public Board meeting, a member of the Board raised concerns an Acute had stated they would report Paramedics carrying this out to the HCPC. Despite this the Chief Executive stated NHSE and NHS Improvement had told them to, ‘just get on with it.’

UNISON asked the Trust yesterday if the proposal had been ‘sold’ to NHSE/NHS Improvement as a solution by the Trust, or if the proposal had been given to the Trust from NHSE/NHS Improvement.

The documentation the Trust produced, which was provided to UNISON yesterday, included a risk assessment which acknowledges:

  • the risk to HCPC registration for Paramedics and Student Paramedics;
  • the risk this poses to patients;
  • that the measures could breach the Health and Social Care Act 2012;
  • that the measures could lead to prosecution under the Health and Safety at work legislation;
  • that the measures could open the Trust up to risk of legal and civil litigation against the Trust and individuals over a failure to exercise their duty of care;
  • the risk of adverse media and reputation damage for ‘abandonment.’
  • the risk around safe guarding vulnerable patients.
  • The risk rating given by the Trust was ‘catastrophic/likely/red.’

UNISON remains very concerned that the current proposals are in no way safe for staff or our patients. The Trust gave us reassurances yesterday they were not going to go live on 6th June, although the NTK article released today appears to suggest otherwise.

We are also liaising with our UNISON colleagues in local Acutes and will keep you informed.

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