The news this week of Swan Housing’s innovative new ‘Night Owl Service’ is an excellent example of how the housing and care sectors are coming closer together to meet the interests of vulnerable people and to reduce patient harm. This type of joined up thinking is very welcome as patients can be the most vulnerable in the first hours and days after discharge from hospital.

The pressures on the NHS are serious. I have sat in on patient-flow and bed management meetings with senior members of NHS management and have seen for myself how hard it can be to manage the constant demand on hospital services. There is pressure at the front end to treat patients admitted to the A&E department as soon as possible for obvious reasons. If these patients require hospital admission then a bed must be found. That bed can very often only be found if someone is discharged from hospital. It might sound unbelievable to an outsider but the reality is that, at times, is it is very much ‘one in, one out’. This same pressure can apply to extremely specialist beds such as ICU beds.

Any initiative which helps to ensure that those patients who can be discharged remain out of hospital is very much to be welcomed. After all, no-one wants to be sat in a hospital bed if they can avoid it but people often need support to make a discharge a success. The Swan initiative operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year, between 11pm and 7am. The Night Owl Service helps to ease the crucial transition period between hospital and home and is a shining example of the opportunities that exist in the space between housing and health.

As a specialist health and housing sector firm, I am sure we see more of these examples at Capsticks and I look forward to providing enabling advice which helps drive these projects forward.