Digital technology transforming care at Beccles Hospital

East Coast Community Healthcare

Some of the ward team at Beccles Hospital. - Credit: Julian Claxton Photography

A range of digital technology has now been introduced to help transform care at Beccles Hospital.

Staff are now using a pioneering digital monitoring system with observations recorded using tablet devices, which helps to alert them when patients are deteriorating and links directly to patients’ GPs.

The social enterprise East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), which runs Beccles Hospital and provides community-based NHS healthcare services across Norfolk and Suffolk, is one of the first organisations in the area to implement the new system.

It means ward staff can update a patient’s electronic record, which includes their clinical history, treatment plans and daily progress notes, and make all the information instantly accessible to all clinicians looking after the patient - regardless of whether they are on site or working elsewhere.

This integrated approach results in improved care plans for patients, produced in a timely manner.

The Minsmere Ward at Beccles Hospital provides in-patient rehabilitation and reablement care, as well as housing six palliative care beds with specialist consultant support from St Elizabeth Hospice.

In addition to the new monitoring system, a ‘virtual’ discharge room has been introduced whereby ECCH teams meet online daily with staff from the James Paget University Hospital and Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils to discuss patients who could leave hospital, and be cared for either on Minsmere Ward, or in the community by ECCH’s Primary Care Home teams.

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This has helped to ease flow through the hospital and enabled closer working with our partners.

Intermediate care lead at Beccles Hospital, Lisa Ruthven, said: “As technology has come to the forefront of everyone’s minds as a means of communication during the pandemic, we realised how much it could benefit our service in the long term and we have used this to the utmost to transform the way we do things.

"It has made a real difference to the way we communicate on the ward and, most importantly, the way we care for patients.”