Just because you are admitted to a hospital in Nottinghamshire, it doesn’t mean that you live in Nottinghamshire. The Healthcare Locator Service tool enables NHS Trusts in Nottinghamshire to automatically locate the correct local authority for each patient using their main/home address. This service then sends the referral in the format the local authority wants to receive this. The nurse making the referral has no extra work to do and doesn’t need to worry about checking addresses. The local authority also receives the referrals directly without them being sent elsewhere first.
How this works:
Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust has patients that often live within Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire (as well as other areas in the country). In the previous referral process to social care, admin staff would have to look at addresses and determine manually whether a case needed to go to Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire County Council.
Although this is often simple, Nottinghamshire has about 200 postcode boundaries that are part of more than one local authority area. But even to be 100% accurate, staff would check council tax websites to confirm the local authority if unclear. In some hospitals, questions like “what colour is your wheelie bin” is not uncommon so that they know where they need to send a social care referral.
When a referral is sent to the wrong local authority, this can often be cause for extra delay. This is a delay to the person in hospital who wants to go home and a delay to the staff receiving the information to support that discharge.