Agenda item

Winter Plan 2023/24.


The Committee considered a report of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) which summarised planning to manage winter pressures across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) in 2023/ 2024 and provided an update on the Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme for the eligible population. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 8’, is filed with these minutes.


The Committee welcomed to the meeting for this item Jon Melbourne, Chief Operating Officer, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Kay Darby, Deputy Director, Vaccination Programme, and Rachna Vyas, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.


Arising from discussions the following points were noted:


(i)           Members welcomed the ambitions set out in the winter plan but stated that more detail should have been provided on the actions that would be put in place to achieve the goals. In particular members requested more data and evidence to help reassure them that targets would be reached. In response it was clarified that there were other documents held by UHL which had not been provided to the Committee that provided the further detail, actions and timescales. Future reports to the Committee on winter pressures would contain the further information requested.


(ii)         Ambulance handover times at Leicester Royal Infirmary Emergency Department had improved significantly since 2022.


(iii)        There had been a significant increase in the workforce for handling 999 and 111 telephone calls for the East Midlands area. Capacity in Primary Care had also been expanded.


(iv)       The discharge from hospital process was critical to flow through the hospital. Reassurance was given that there was close working taking place between UHL and the Adults and Communities Department at Leicestershire County Council regarding discharge and social care. The NHS had agreed to fund additional capacity in social care. Social care staff were working on wards assessing people for discharge. People receiving home care were also being reviewed to help improve the flow.


(v)         The County Council was implementing a new intake service which would mean that every patient discharged from hospital into social care would be referred into the reablement service before receiving any other social care service. This would ensure that the patient’s needs were properly assessed before further care was commissioned. The aim was that this would be implemented over winter 2023/24.


(vi)       Members welcomed the use of virtual wards which allowed people to be safely monitored from the comfort of their own home. It was planned to have 236 virtual beds in total by the end of autumn 2023.


(vii)      Recruitment at UHL was progressing better than planned and the number of vacancies was reducing. A member asked how UHL’s financial situation would be affected should all the vacancies be filled. In response it was explained that the financial impact was not entirely clear but regardless UHL would continue to try and fill all the vacancies. UHL wanted substantive staff in post who would remain with the Trust for the long term.


(viii)    Part of the Winter Plan was to expand new services in the community, as up to 20% of emergency admissions could be avoided with the right care in place. There had been progress so far with a significant increase in people treated in the community. Currently 94% of patients were able to access urgent community response within 2 hours.


(ix)       Members welcomed the improvement in the length of waiting lists for elective care procedures.


(x)         Covid-19 vaccination uptake was 43% across LLR and 46% in Leicestershire. The Covid vaccination campaign would continue until 18th December with a strong equalities plan to drive uptake. Flu vaccination uptake was increasing and stood at 39% for LLR overall and 55% in Leicestershire. The flu campaign would continue until the end of March 2024.




(a)        That the update on planning to manage winter pressures across LLR in 2023/ 2024 and the Covid-19 and flu vaccination programme be noted;


(b)        That officers be invited to provide a further report to the Committee on winter pressures in advance of the 2024/25 winter.


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