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GM to develop innovative app designed to curb A&E pressures

An innovative measure designed to stop people unnecessarily going to A&E is currently in development by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP).

GMHSCP explained that an app and website was in development that would show, in real time, which health services patients can go to for help, as well as how busy each one currently is.

Health leads in the area are hoping that this could be an innovative solution to stopping patients from going to A&E for problems that are not an emergency, thus freeing up beds, giving staff more time to handle people with serious ailments and saving money.

“Overall, we don’t want people to go to A&E when it’s not needed – but up to this point we’ve not made it clear enough about what the alternatives are for people,” said Jon Rouse, chief officer of the GMHSCP, who NHE interviewed earlier this year.

“We’re looking at the development of an app and website for the public that shows in real time where people can get help, which services are open and which services are busiest.”

Alongside the app, GMHSCP revealed that other reforms lined up include using data more effectively to predict health and social care demand, to ensure primary care standards are met.

A 24/7 ‘operational hub’ to be based at the North West Ambulance Service, which will have access to live details on how the GM health and care system is operating in order to support how services are co-ordinated and deployed in the area, will also be trialled.

“There’s no doubt that winter challenges will be felt by the system across Greater Manchester like the rest of the country – but we are doing our best to ease these pressures with initiatives to help people stay well in the first place, and by building on where we had good results last year,” Rouse explained.

The CEO also went into some detail about how the organisation would be targeting reducing emergency admissions for social care patients.

“We have a plan that will include work to reduce delayed transfers of care, because we know that on any given day in Greater Manchester there could be around 2,500 people in hospital beds who could be better looked after in the community,” Rouse continued.

“We are going to have a big push on improving the quality of residential and nursing homes (to at least a ‘good’ standard in terms of their ratings).”

New ideas for the care workforce – like starting GM care apprenticeship schemes to broaden career prospects, which will also help with the fragility of the care home market – are also being investigated.

“A big focus this year will be on carers,” he concluded. “Currently 70,000 people provide care for someone else, for more than 50 hours a week. If we lost just 5% of this support it would mean that 3,500 people would need comprehensive packages of care from within the system.”

It also follows a £134m fund to support mental health care in the GM area being announced earlier this week.

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editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >