Hinchingbrooke hospital has launched a new initiative which aims to free up hospital beds this winter.

A Discharge Lounge is now open for patients who are ready to leave hospital but are just waiting on medication and paperwork.

As these patients no longer need their hospital bed, they can be moved to this area while their space on the ward is cleaned and prepared for the next person.

Arshiya Khan, Deputy Chief Executive at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, says the Discharge Lounge should help during the winter months when demand for beds is highest.

She said: “We always see an increase in the number of patients requiring urgent and emergency care over the winter period and as a result we put in place different options to try and ensure this does not negatively impact patient experience.

"The Discharge Lounge is one of many initiatives we have planned as part of our improvement programme for winter.

“We are using the learning from the running of the Discharge Lounge at our Peterborough City Hospital site, but we are confident that having this facility at Hinchingbrooke Hospital will mean that we can ensure a faster turnaround to patients who need a hospital bed.”

The Discharge Lounge will be located on the 1st floor near the Medical Short Stay Unit.

There is easy access for ambulance transport or friends and relatives to collect their loved one.

In total, 13 patients can wait there, with space for 10 chairs and three beds and access to refreshments throughout the day.

Caroline Walker, the trust’s chief executive, officially opened the space yesterday (Thursday) and Glenys Peddar, was one of the first patients discharged.

The Discharge Lounge is one of many initiatives in place to help improve the experience of patients during their hospital stays. Particularly during the winter months, as the number of people requiring urgent or emergency care increases.

As well as discharging patients efficiently and safely, other aspects of the hospital’s improvement plans for winter focus on faster ambulance turnaround times and protecting staff from flu and covid with a vaccine programme.