PATIENTS are often delayed leaving hospital due to having to wait for prescriptions.

But now two ‘runners’ have been tasked at the Royal Bolton with making sure patients are getting their medicine quickly so they can go home.

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Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at the hospital revealed the plan while updating the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about missed discharge targets.

He said: “We trialled a ‘runner’. We now have two ‘runners’ who run between wards. Whoever’s prescription is waiting, we take it to them.”

A Royal Bolton Hospital spokesman later stressed that the messengers did not run between wards, because only crash teams are allowed to run on hospital corridors.

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Hospitals are assessed against the number of discharges they make by noon and by 4pm each day. The hospital has around 50 to 70 discharges each day. The target is to get 30 per cent out by noon and 70 per cent out by 4pm.

At the moment hospital performance fluctuates during the week and Mr Ennis is working with his staff to try to make the service more consistent meet the targets.

As well as the runners the hospital is working to impress upon junior doctors the importance of writing up prescriptions.

Mr Ennis said: “Often if pharmacy get the right prescription at the right time within 45 minutes they can turn it around. The rest is getting junior doctors to write prescriptions and getting it written up correctly.

“We’re looking to junior doctors trying to talk about this process and why it’s important. They might see a routine task but it has a big impact on the patient.”

The hospital is trying to implement a culture where “if you’re going home tomorrow you do the prescription today”.

Mr Ennis was positive about improving the flow of patients through the hospital though.

He said: “We are getting patients out quicker from A&E and that must mean we are doing something better around discharging patients and we have fewer beds open than this time last year.

“We are doing something right because attendances are up and admissions are up and length of stay is coming down.”