North London Partners in health and care

Discharge model during COVID-19


A standardised discharge management process is being rapidly mobilised across NCL. This is in line with COVID-19 National Guidance. It will ensure we can manage the anticipated increase in demand for acute services as a result of COVID-19, and subsequent increase in discharges from hospital.  

Single points of access (SPAs), are now operational at each of our five acute trusts in NCL. Their role is to support staff to implement new ‘step down’ pathways which allow medically optimised patients to be rapidly discharged from acute services to their home or a community setting with the appropriate support. The SPAs are an integrated team of Acute staff, Community staff and Local Authority staff.

CHS, an independent specialist provider of hospital discharge services, has been commissioned to provide additional capacity and support to the SPAs. This will support the resilience of discharge teams, consistent NCL processes and protocols, and tracking of patients discharged to ensure follow up and review. As we move forward we will keep under review the need for additional clinical input to support the discharge process and pathways.

To ensure rapid discharge once ‘medically optimised’ we are also bringing on-stream additional community bed capacity to provide ‘step down’ support where needed. Providers across NCL will have access to existing and newly mobilised community beds and beds will be shared and used flexibly to ensure all patients coming out of an NCL acute site can be quickly placed and supported. The community beds will support patients who are unable to go straight home as they have additional needs to be met. Additional care home beds, reablement provision and home care packages are also being secured, led by NCL Local Authorities.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Ogunoye