Simple “Red bag” scheme speeds up care for older people across West Yorkshire

People need joined up care more than ever before and some of the simplest changes can make the biggest difference. New health and care initiatives are being designed to make hospitals and care homes more proactive across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

One of these initiatives is the ‘Red Bag’ scheme which gives reassurance to patients that they have everything they need with them when they are admitted to hospital. This simple idea, which started three years ago in Sutton, is now being rolled out across the country, including across all West Yorkshire areas (Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield).

The scheme is designed to improve patient care and help care home residents admitted to hospital be discharged quicker. Red bags containing key paperwork, medication and personal items like glasses, slippers and dentures, are handed to ambulance crews by carers and travel with patients to hospital where they are then handed to the hospital staff on admission.

The bags also provide hospital staff with up-to-date information about an individual’s health, including any health concerns, and any medication that the patient is taking. Having all these things to hand means that hospital staff won’t need to contact care home staff to ask questions which can be time consuming and could potentially delay treatment. It also means people have their essential items when they go to hospital, which is reassuring for them at what can be a distressing time.

It also means that patients are discharged back to the home with key information regarding treatment they have received, saving calls to the hospital for much needed information.

Dr Adam Sheppard, Chair of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Urgent and Emergency Care Programme said:

“It is great news that all our local areas across West Yorkshire have implemented this straightforward, but important scheme. The scheme makes a huge difference to the care people receive. Having a person’s health information readily available saves time at each stage of the patient’s care, speeding up their treatment and potentially reducing the length of time they need to stay in hospital unless needed”.

Rob Webster, CEO Partnership Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said: “One of the reasons we came together as a Partnership is to implement good practice quickly across West Yorkshire & Harrogate. This is a great example of the difference we can make when we work together. It is also evidence that some of the simplest ideas have the biggest impact”.

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Notes to editors

The Red Bag scheme has already been successfully implemented in other areas of the country, including Sutton in South West London where it has greatly improved communication between care home staff and trust staff. http://www.suttonccg.nhs.uk/News-Publications/news/Pages/The-Red-Bag--Improving-life-for-care-home-residents.aspx