At Oxford City Councils Home Improvement Agency (HIA) we’ve increased the Safe & Secure grant limit to £2,000 to enable quicker and safer hospital discharge (HD), freeing up NHS beds, and reducing pressure on acute services. This free, non-means tested funding can be used quickly for vital safety work within the home.
We’ve also recognised that many patients cross district borders so we coordinate with our partner HIA’s in Oxfordshire to support HD in their areas regardless of policy differences. This meant that hospitals across Oxfordshire had one consolidated contact route to access the support HIA’s can offer.
We made the qualifying criteria and application process as simple as possible. Streamlining collaboration between the services was vital if we wanted to support the NHS and clients within Oxford City. Understanding reaction time was paramount. A delayed stay in hospital would expose the client to an unnecessary risk of infection. We believed that the increase in funds would not only relieve pressure on NHS bed-space, staff and facilities during the coronavirus outbreak, but enable quick access to funds and ensure a safe return to home for patients.
"We’ve increased the Safe & Secure grant limit to £2,000 to enable quicker and safer hospital discharge, freeing up NHS beds, and reducing pressure on acute services. This free, non-means tested funding can be used quickly for vital safety work within the home"We marketed the Safe & Secure grant to all hospitals in Oxfordshire and contacted Adult Social Services, GP surgeries and practicing health professionals. We utilised our internal contractor Oxford Direct Services who ran on a reduced workforce to prioritise these works as urgent, thus enabling work to commence immediately and often the same day.
Since the lockdown we have undertaken roughly 130 Safe & Secure grants at a total cost of £49K. The average cost of each job was only £376.
Oxford City Council HIA received an urgent request from the Social Services team at the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital. Their patient had no hot water or central heating and the team needed to arrange a deep clean of the home beforehand to enable hospital discharge.
We arranged for our Gas Safe engineer to visit the property with social services to evaluate and quote. Unfortunately the boiler had already been condemned and capped off with a DO NOT USE sticker on the boiler. The Gas meter had also been capped off, this meant that there was no heating or hot water available, sadly this client had lived like that for years!
Sourcing immediate Discretionary Disabled Facilities Grants funding and using the newly increased Safe & Secure grant we removed the old condemned boiler and water tank and installed a new energy efficient combination boiler in its place. The process from initial call to completion took just 4 working days and the client was discharged from hospital to a warm, clean environment which will be instrumental to their recovery.
As the Care Coordinator at the JR explained: responding to urgent HD cases such as these “helped to get someone out of hospital and reduce the delay in discharge, also reducing the risk of patient catching Covid or another infection whilst waiting in hospital”
If you would like to talk through any of the issues raised in this guest blog and/or find out how the Housing LIN can assist your organisation, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org