Report praises SCAS

Monday, 31 January, 2011

Since July last year South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SCAS) has been
working with falls prevention teams across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire to make a dramatic impact on the number of people injured by falls. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlighted the benefits of this scheme, to both patients and ambulance demand in a recent report.

Every month SCAS attend 2300 people aged 65 or over who have fallen. On average 1100
of these will be treated in their home and will not be taken to hospital.

Historically, patients who have fallen once are more likely to fall again, which greatly
increases their risk of serious injury, broken bones, which lead to a reduced quality
of life. These repeat 999 calls also place a significant demand on the ambulance service.
The falls referral scheme has created links between SCAS and local healthcare
falls prevention teams who assess the needs of fallers and provide additional support
or equipment to reduce the risk of the person falling again. Before this scheme was introduced 1% of 999 falls patients were referred to prevention teams.

This number has now risen to 70%, and SCAS is one of the leading ambulance services in
the country for falls referral and prevention. The CQC describes the falls referrals project as one of the 'successful initiatives' which 'has helped the service to employ ambulance crews more appropriately'.

Director of Patient Care Fizz Thompson says, "We are delighted that the CQC have recognised the efforts of our staff and the falls referral scheme. The success of this
initiative is thanks to the dedication of our staff to the patients they serve, and the
work of our partner healthcare falls prevention team in the local community. We
are proud to be making a significant improvement to quality of the lives of our patients
at risk of falling, and helping to free up ambulances to deal with increasing 999 calls across the Trust."

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