An innovative new service that will help hospitals and health authorities manage increased pressures and workloads over the winter period has been launched this week by Intelligent Health.
The health forecasting service combines data from the Met Office, circulating viruses as well as historic local and national health data to help hospitals anticipate demand as a result of changes in the weather.
Initially piloted in Berkshire to be rolled across the UK — the health forecasting service will act as an early warning system for hospitals, GPs and health professionals for any increases in illnesses or injuries during the winter period.
The NHS faces increasing pressures during the winter period with 21% of patients in England spending longer than 4 hours in A&E last winter and 3% of A&E attendances lasting for over 12 hours. Additionally, the UK has one of the highest excess winter death rates in Europe — with an 18% increase in mortality rates during winter — only surpassed by Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
The tool has been created by Dr William Bird MBE, CEO of Intelligent Health and former Clinical Director of the Health Forecast Unit at the Met Office. Speaking about the new service, Dr Bird said: “We all know that the NHS faces huge pressures during the winter months with plunging temperatures and severe weather resulting in rises in admissions, illnesses and injuries. With growing demands every year, our health system needs new solutions — our health forecasting service will help hospitals prepare for adverse weather and improve service for staff and patients.”