Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group


The Red Bag: a small initiative set to make a big difference in Luton

25 May 2018

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Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG) has launched a simple initiative to help people living in care homes receive quick and effective treatment should they need to go into hospital in an emergency.

The "Red Bag" keeps important information about a care home resident's health in one place, which is easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff. It contains standardised information about the resident's general health, any existing medical conditions they have, medication they are taking, and their current health concern. 

This means that ambulance and hospital staff can determine the treatment a resident needs more effectively and therefore improves patients' experience of being taken to hospital in an emergency.

The NHS England initiative has been developed in partnership with Luton and Dunstable (L&D) Hospital, Cambridgeshire Community Services’ (CCS) Rapid Response Team, East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), Luton Borough Council and care homes around Luton.

The Red Bag also contains personal belongings (such as clothes for day of discharge, glasses, etc.) and it stays with the patient while they are in hospital. When patients are ready to go home, a copy of their discharge summary (which details every aspect of the care they received in hospital) will be placed in the red bag so that care home staff have access to the information when their residents' arrive back at the care home. 

The Red Bag also clearly identifies a patient as being a care home resident and this means that it may be possible for the patient to be discharged sooner.

Dr Haydn Williams, Clinical Lead for Care Homes at LCCG and local GP, said: “The great thing about the Red Bag is that it ensures patient focused care by improving continuity of care across services.   The paperwork is standardised for every patient and so the hand over to the ambulance crewis much more efficient.     This makes the process of transferring patients from the care home to hospital and back again faster, and when patients arrive in hospital they receive the care they need more quickly”. 


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