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Millions to benefit from community healthcare team expansion

Millions of patients are set to benefit from faster care at home as the health service announces the expansion of community healthcare teams.

The move is part of the NHS’s plan to recover services and smooth patient flow in health settings by keeping patients out of hospital when possible. These community response teams respond to people who are in need of urgent diabetes support, have had a fall or are experiencing confusion.

Since the initiative’s initial rollout last April, more than 225,000 people have received medical support in the comfort of their own home, with the latest data indicating that the number of people being treated by these urgent community response teams has doubled, going from around 17,500 people per month in its first month to 35,000 people in December.

National Medical Director for the NHS, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS has been under significant pressure, particularly during winter months – dealing with the ‘twindemic’ of flu and Covid, huge numbers of people need an ambulance and our A&E services – so we have been working hard to put longer term plans in place to deal with the record demand we are experiencing right across the country.

“A key part of delivering these plans is keeping people out of hospital when they don’t need to be there and so over the coming months and years, these rapid response teams will provide convenient care at home for millions of people, without needing to be admitted to hospital.

“Helping to keep them out of hospital and enabling them to live independently for longer – we know patients prefer this, and that it helps with their recovery to be treated in the comfort of their home.

“Thanks to the accelerated rollout and the hard work of our NHS staff working together, these teams are now in every part of the country – so as ever, please come forward for the care you need if you have health concerns.”

With 70% of patients accessing these services already being seen within two hours, the NHS is working well to alleviate the estimated 20% of emergency admissions that could be avoided if the right care is in place.

Health secretary Steve Barclay, added: “Around one fifth of emergency admissions can be avoided with the right care in place. Treating more people from the comfort of their own homes is a crucial part of our plan to improve care for patients, cut waiting times and reduce pressure on NHS services.

“Almost a quarter of a million people have been treated at home since April. We’re expanding community healthcare teams even further to provide people with the support they need to recover quickly and continue to live independent lives as we tackle the Covid backlog and recover urgent and emergency care.”

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NHE May/June 2024

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