Three Hampshire MPs have backed a new ‘Red Bags’ scheme launched by NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Eastleigh MP Mims Davies and New Forest MPs Dr Julian Lewis and Sir Desmond Swayne praised the red bags, which are designed to accompany care home residents when they go into hospital to keep their possessions safely in one place.
The CCG has been working with local care homes, University Hospital Southampton, Southern Health and South Central Ambulance Service to bring red bags to the area.
The bags are designed to carry people’s health information, care plan and medication, as well as personal items like glasses, slippers and dentures so they don’t get lost if they go into hospital.
The simple scheme was launched in Sutton, South West London, in 2015 and NHS England is urging all areas of the country to adopt it.
The Sutton project has led to:
• Reduced average hospital stays by three to four days, saving £167,000 a year
• Fewer lost items such as dentures, glasses and hearing aids worth £290,000 in a year
• Improved communication between care home and hospital staff saving time, resources and duplication.
The Chairman of the CCG, Dr Sarah Schofield added: “This is a simple way of preventing people’s important possessions from getting lost when they go into hospital. It is also an effective way of ensuring all important information is kept with the patient in one place.
“I would like to thank our colleagues in the local hospitals, ambulance trust and care homes for their enthusiastic support for red bags.”
New Forest East MP Dr Lewis welcomed the scheme: “This simple but essential step is a common sense solution to the problem of ensuring that vulnerable patients who suddenly have to go into hospital are fully equipped with everything necessary for their safety and welfare.
“The CCG’s initiative in reaching out to nursing homes in this way deserves to become a model for the NHS as a whole.”
The CCG has worked with all partners to help staff understand the red bag system and know who is responsible when someone goes into hospital and when they return home afterwards.
Red bags are being phased in across the West Hampshire CCG area – from November 2018 in the Eastleigh, Romsey and New Forest areas.