New GIRFT metrics for respiratory medicine shared on Model Health System can support winter bed planning

GIRFT metrics now available on the Model Health System (MHS) can support NHS respiratory medicine teams to recover services from the impact of Covid-19, as well as helping to ease winter pressures.

More than 70 metrics relating to activity for high-volume respiratory conditions such as pleural disease, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma can now be found by logging in at Model Health System and navigating to the GIRFT clinical metrics compartment for the specialty.

Trust and system users can view their performance across elective and non-elective services, drilling down into areas such as average length of stay for pneumonia patients, the percentage of COPD patients readmitted to hospital within 30 days, and the percentage of patients with asthma admitted to critical care. Data for the comparison of sleep services is also available.

Respiratory problems are among the most common reasons patients are admitted to hospital, especially during the winter months, leading to ‘winter pressure’ problems. The Covid-19 pandemic placed a particular strain on respiratory medicine teams, with the virus typically causing respiratory symptoms and some patients developing respiratory failure requiring input from respiratory teams.

The new GIRFT metrics on the MHS support the NHS elective recovery by highlighting variations in emergency readmissions and therefore the potential impact on bed availability.

Dr Martin Allen, GIRFT’s clinical lead for respiratory medicine and NHS England’s national specialty adviser for physiological science, said: “The impact of the Covid pandemic on respiratory medicine was huge, with the redistribution of staff and the commitment to providing acute care including ventilatory support and the subsequent development of long Covid services. Unfortunately, we are yet to fully restore to pre-pandemic levels in all areas of respiratory medicine.

“I’m delighted that these metrics, covering both elective and non-elective activity, are now available to guide providers on the priority areas to support services and patient flow through their organisations.”

The metrics can be used alongside the GIRFT national report for respiratory medicine (March 2021) to help implement the report’s 26 recommendations and actions. They have been drawn from GIRFT’s national review of respiratory medicine, which contained practical steps and best practice examples to help trusts better manage patient demand and optimise capacity in the restoration period, with a focus on measures which can help meet the challenges of the post-Covid world.

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