ICS, News

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS launches winter control room

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System has this month launched a winter control room to manage demand and capacity across the county.

The control room is said to use multi-agency data to support the region’s response to pressures across the system, where it can match staff with demand to support capacity. Operational seven days a week, the ICS notes that the control room will support its response to de-escalate pressure and manage risk.

Operational staff at the control room will use data such as A&E performance and waiting times, staffing levels, ambulance handover times and bed occupancy.

Sam Tilley, Director of Urgent & Emergency Care and Emergency Planning for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, commented: “For the last couple of years, since the Covid pandemic, we have been experiencing pressures on services across the whole health and social care system. These pressures can strike different parts of the system at different times or in tandem. This could be demand for ambulances, increases in people walking into A&E, demand for care home beds, or for primary care appointments.

“This new control centre is a positive step forward and will allow staff to see “real time” data from across health and social care enabling us to see where ambulance queues are building up, waiting times are increasing, bed occupancy is challenged for instance, and to work together across the system in a joined-up way to address these issues quickly.”

In October, NHS England wrote to all ICBs with advice to implement system control centres by December 2022. It highlighted action to implement a minimum viable product by 1 December 2022, to ensure visibility and a collective approach to managing system demand and capacity. “SCCs will balance the risk across acute sector, community, mental health, and social care services with an aim of ensuring that clinical risk is appropriately dispersed across the whole ICS during periods of surge,” the document stated.