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RD&E Wins Innovation funds to Support homeless charity


An Exeter-based charity that aims to help homeless people out of hospital and into safe accommodation is to receive a £68,602 cash boost from the NHS.

Community Housing Aid will receive the money from the RD&E for their project ‘Bay6’ after the hospital applied successfully for a slice of the NHS Regional Innovation Fund, the winners of which were announced today by NHS England.

Bay6’s aim is that no-one should be discharged from hospital as homeless and it has been working closely with the RD&E for several months. The cash will allow it to continue its innovative work with the hospital until April next year.

Homeless patients can range from rough sleepers to those who suddenly find themselves homeless during their stay in hospital. Many tend to stay in hospital longer than necessary because of the potential difficulties arranging suitable accommodation before discharge. A lack of suitable accommodation can necessitate or prompt frequent visits to the Emergency Department even when they may not need emergency medical attention.

Bay6 acts as a mediator between RD&E frontline medical staff, social services/housing agencies and the voluntary sector. Once called by the RD&E, one of its team can be on site to assess a patient, often the same day. Subsequent advice and support on a range of issues rapidly speeds up the patient’s discharge into safe and secure accommodation. As a result, RD&E medical staff are freed up and beds are released more quickly for other patients. Emergency Department attendances can also be reduced because the patient has been placed in appropriate accommodation.

Sheila Guinchard, RD&E Lead for Patient Flow, said: “Bay6 have provided valuable support so far in the short time we have been working with them and I believe their work could help to reduce re-admittance into the Emergency Department and speed up the discharge process, releasing beds quicker and freeing up our staff to treat other patients sooner.

“We are a caring profession and we want to know our patients have somewhere safe to go to after discharge. Through our partnership with Bay6 we are giving some of our most vulnerable patients a better chance to turn their lives around.”

Stuart Hooper, Director of Community Housing Aid, said the charity would now explore ways to secure longer-term funding so the project could continue after April next year.
He said: “We are hugely grateful that our project has been recognised by NHS England. No-one should leave hospital as homeless and our work improves the health and well-being of an often marginalised part of society. We also know that doing so can benefit hospitals, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups financially.”

The RD&E has also received Regional Innovation Fund cash for new ward-based ‘whiteboard’ technology and a new tumour marker device to benefit haemato-oncology patients.

Em Wilkinson-Brice, Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer, said: “The RD&E is proud of its track record for patient care innovation and I am delighted three of our projects have been successful in their bids for funding. All of the successful projects support our commitment to both clinical excellence and compassionate care.”


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