New wound dressing service puts patients first

NHS patients in Southern Derbyshire should soon have to wait two days less to have the most suitable dressing for their wounds.
And GPs and community nurses will be spending an hour less each day on writing prescriptions.
The expected improvements are the result of a decision by NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to scrap the requirement for district nurses, tissue viability nurses and community matrons to request a prescription from a GP or community nursing team for dressings needed to treat wounds in patients’ homes.
Instead, a range of dressings will be held in a central base and carried by community nurses to the patient’s home.
The rethink will reduce the length of time patients have to wait for treatment following assessment and for subsequent changing of dressings using the most suitable materials.
It will also cut the amount of time spent by GPs and community nurses on writing prescriptions.
Another benefit is that nurses will be able to reduce visits to patients’ homes because it will sometimes be possible to apply the first dressing as soon as the assessment has been made.  
In addition, the dressings supplier used by the CCG is to share a percentage of the savings it has made through its bulk buying power.
At the moment, although patients can have wounds dressed very quickly, they can wait up to five days for the most appropriate dressing for their wound. This is because of delays in the writing, making up and delivery of prescriptions.
The new system is being rolled out in stages as follows:

Ripley, week starting 9 September
Ashbourne, week starting 16 September
Swadlincote, 17 September
Belper, weeks starting 16 and 23 September
Erewash, week starting 23 September
Alfreton, 4 October
Derby, 4 October.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“This overhaul of the way in which we prescribe and administer wound dressings will achieve much better value for money for the taxpayer. The changes underline the way in which the new, GP-led CCGs are community organisations able to focus relentlessly on improving the patient experience.
“The new scheme is really good news for the 525,000-plus patients for whom we’re responsible. Through innovation, we’re providing a more responsive, patient-focused service that will also save money.
“The service should greatly enhance quality of life for patients convalescing at home after surgery, and for elderly and housebound patients with chronic wounds such as leg ulcers. It will also be of great benefit to patients needing dressings following minor injuries.”
The scheme will be trialled for the first few months and then made permanent if the expected service improvements and savings are realised. 
In exceptional circumstances a prescription may still be needed. Exceptions would include very expensive dressings or dressings required in extremely large quantities or unusual materials.
The pilot will not include patients in nursing homes, anyone who is self-administering or those who are not under the care of the community nursing team. In addition, hospitals and private health care settings will continue to write their own prescriptions for dressings. 
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is one of four clinical commissioning groups in the county responsible for the healthcare of people in Derbyshire.

Charles Malkin, Communications Officer

Tel: 01246 514971/07825 274111

Ref: SD/RHR/407

Published: 25/04/2014