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Partner in Focus: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Posted on November 29th 2018

As a partnership of NHS Trusts across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, plus the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, we aim to work with healthcare professionals, policymakers and the public to identify areas of research that reflect the real needs and concerns of the health service in the South West. 

Highlighting how this works in practice, we have brought together some of the work we have carried out with the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (TSDFT).

Researchers in residence

With pressure increasing on the NHS due to factors such as an ageing population and those living with multiple complex health and social care needs, there is call to look at ways to make the NHS services and systems as efficient and effective as possible. PenCLAHRC are collaborating with Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust (TSDFT) where they are implementing ‘researchers in residence’ roles. These roles aim to help support the evaluation and implementation of service innovations to better improve integrated care for patients.

The approach of having researcher in residence roles means that we can combine operational service evaluation with action-orientated, participatory practice to research. The benefit of this means that the development and implementation of service innovations can take place in real time.

Find out more about the researchers in residence project here.

Torbay and South Devon stroke care

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust requested PenCHORD’s help with understanding the number of beds needed to obtain a good flow of patients through the acute and rehabilitation unit stroke care pathway. The projects aim is that patients should not be held up at any phase of the care pathway due to lack of beds in the next phase.

From this project the team were able to determine resources needed for Torbay and South Devon stroke care and also what impact could occur if there were developments to the stroke care system. It looked at:

  • The proportion of patients directly admitted to a stroke unit within four hours of arrival at the acute hospital
  • The median time between arrival at the hospital and arrival at the stroke unit
  • The proportion of patients who spend at least 60% of their stay in hospital on a stroke unit

These results were later presented to Torbay and South Devon, allowing them to make informed decisions for future planning.

Paediatric Acute Care Project

Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust is involved in the Paediatric Acute Care project which aims to reduce unnecessary admissions of children to hospital as they have been increasing over the last years. An increase in acute paediatric admissions has an unsustainable financial and organisational effect on the NHS, so the importance to understand why there has been an increase if of value.

PenCLAHRC designed and implemented a Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU) in Torbay and South Devon hospitals. They aimed to reduce unnecessary admissions of children to the hospital wards and reduce the amount of time that children spent in the emergency department (ED). The outcome of setting up a PAU was a 17% reduction in admissions. Building on this, a second phases of the study was introduced which a will record interventions and examine impact they have on service delivery and admissions numbers.

Watch Professor Stuart Logan talk about bringing together hospitals from across the South West to reduce the number of children arriving at A&E.

Read more about the project here.


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