Stay well at home

Monday, 10 February, 2020

Expert rapid response teams will be on hand within two hours to help support older people to remain well at home and avoid hospital admissions, under new plans outlined by the NHS in January.

Local health service and council teams will begin the roll out of Urgent Community Response teams from April, as part of the NHS' Long Term Plan to support England's ageing population and those with complex needs.

The teams will give those who need it fast access to a range of qualified professionals who can address both their health and social care needs, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, medication prescribing and reviews, and help with staying well-fed and -hydrated.

Backed by £14million of investment, seven 'accelerator' sites will be the first to deliver the new standards for care, working together to standardise how urgent community services will be measured, and delivered consistently across the country, 365 days a year.

Older people and adults with complex health needs who have a very urgent care need, including a risk of being hospitalised, will be able to access a response from a team of skilled professionals within two hours, to provide the care they need to remain independent.

A two day standard will also apply for teams to put in place tailored packages of intermediate care, or reablement services, for individuals in their own homes, with the aim of restoring independence and confidence after a hospital stay.
NHS teams in seven parts of the country will begin working with their local authority counterparts on developing the services and recruiting staff from April, with the ambition that at least three areas will be fully up and running by next winter.
Further areas across England will receive extra funding to begin working to the new standards from 2021, with every part of the country covered by April 2023.
This will be supported by an additional £4.5billion a year for primary care and community services by 2023/24.
Matthew Winn, NHS Director of Community Health and Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: "For the first time in its 71-year history, NHS national plans prioritise community health services, providing a genuine opportunity to do something different when caring for people facing a health crisis at home.
"We have committed to ensure all patients in England get the right community care, in a timely manner when they need it most by 2023/24."

At present, no part of the country is consistently delivering community urgent care services 365 days a year in line with these new national standards - meaning that all areas are expected to see a significant improvement in the offer to local people.
Seven 'accelerator' sites have been selected to develop the two hour/two day NHS standards, and include partnerships of providers of community health services, NHS commissioners, councils and adult social care teams, and 111 and ambulance services.

They are:

  • Warrington Together (Cheshire and Merseyside STP);
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (Kirklees);
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland system;
  • Cornwall system;
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire system;
  • South East London system; and
  • Norfolk and Waveney system

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