Why are we changing?

Because of COVID-19, the demand on our health and care system is going to be higher than usual. Consequently we are making sure that our hospitals are ready to look after the people who most need them. In the community we are ensuring people can be discharged from hospital as quickly and safely as possible.
This may mean that some people, who in normal circumstances might have been in hospital, will be looked after at home or in the community. That’s why we are doing something different now so that we can support people in the right way during this health crisis. Our aim is to treat at, or close to, home wherever possible to reduce spread of the coronavirus.

What are we going to be dealing with at the peak of the pandemic?
  • More very sick people
  • People who need more support because they have multiple conditions
  • A situation which will change day-to-day
What is going to be needed to deal with this situation?

Flexible decision making: We want to ensure people can get the support they need when they need it. Our colleagues will probably also be affected by the virus so we have simplified the way decisions are made to enable us to respond quickly.

Co-ordinated response: Things will change quickly, the number of staff available each day, to the number of people who need help. We will work closely together to coordinate our response to meet people’s needs.

How will the changes help us cope?

Integrated and co-located: Previously, we’ve worked in different organisations and different teams, each one working hard to deliver the best outcomes for people. But until COVID, the demand for each service had been almost manageable. COVID-19 will mean more people will need health and care services. By having integrated teams, located together in the same offices, we can ensure we use our resource in the best possible way, no matter which team or organisation a person works for.

Simple and easy to use: We have over 50 different community services. A simpler system and easy to use; referral process means we can coordinate all our community services to benefit the people who need them.

Responsive: During this emergency, people need to be able to access services or support whenever they need it. We need to be flexible and able to respond quickly, people’s needs and our resources will change daily. By working differently we will be better placed to achieve this.

As a health and care system, we are planning for four phases of the COVID-19 pandemic:

The four phased approach

Phase one: Planning and preparation

  • In general practice during the day, and 111 and the out of hours service out of hours, we’ve increased the use of digital consultation solutions, and are working out which practices and surgeries will be for patients with COVID symptoms, and which will be for those without, aiming to minimise the spread of the virus. GPs are working alongside community colleagues to support care homes with their response to COVID.
  • In acute and community hospitals, we have paused all elective surgery, and are prioritising discharging patients home as soon as safe to do so, to minimise the spread and to keep beds available for COVID patients.
  • In the community, health, social care and voluntary teams are working together as one team, with a single referral route in, allowing us to get used to this way of working before the peak. We are increasing capacity by recruiting staff and setting up hotels for short term stays.
  • Community assessment and treatment units (CATUs) are being set up across Cornwall to act as an alternative to the emergency department, providing colleagues with alternative pathways for frail patients.
  • At our hospital front doors, alongside treating patients, teams are mapping out different areas for COVID and non COVID patients. People with serious or life threatening conditions’ will come to Treliske and Derriford, serious fractures will go to St Michaels. Care for minor injuries will be concentrated onto a few key sites across the county to provide local facilities outside of our acute hospitals.

Phase two: Demand increase, ramp up begins

Phase three: Demand at 75% of peak, work to peak processes

Phase four: Peak demand

If you are a member of the public and need help you should call 111, contact your GP or the council’s access service.

If you are a colleague looking to refer someone you can find detailed guidance and access links on your organisation’s intranet.

You can find useful helpline numbers and links to support and information here.

If you’re an adult experiencing abuse or neglect, or if you’re concerned about somebody, contact the adult social care team. If you live in Cornwall call 0300 1234 131 or email accessteam.referral@cornwall.gov.uk. If you live on the Isles of Scilly, call 0300 123 4105.