£14m to roll out rapid response teams as seven sites develop NHS urgent community care standards
As the NHS shifts its focus to community health services in a bid to reduce hospital admissions, the National Health Service has confirmed it is launching new rapid response teams to help deliver new community care standards.
Announced on the 23rd January, local health service and council teams will begin the rollout of the Urgent Community Response teams from April.
The aim will be to provide older people and adults with complex health needs who have a very urgent care need, including a risk of being hospitalised, a response from a team of skilled professionals within two hours in order to provide the care they need to remain independent.
According to NHS England, the teams will give 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.
The new rapid response initiative is being backed by £14million of investment, with seven ‘accelerator’ sites being the first to implement the new scheme and working together to standardise how urgent community services will be measured, and delivered consistently across the country.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “The NHS working hand in glove in the community with council-funded social care services can be the difference between an older person or someone with long-term health needs spending a week or a month on a ward – or getting the right help early so they don’t need to go to hospital in the first place.
“That’s why as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS we are putting community services front and centre, and backing them with a growing share of the NHS budget – and putting in place these new standards will give people and their families peace of mind about what they can expect from their local services when they need help most.”
Alongside the two-hour urgent community care response target, 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 to restore independence and confidence after a hospital stay.
Matthew Winn, NHS Director of Community Health and Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, commented: “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.”
The move is a key element of the NHS Long Term Plans as it shifts to closer integration of health services and social services, with local authorities and the NHS taking a joined-up approach to the commission and provision of vital services to local populations.
Up to now, the NHS has not set national expectations or strategy regarding supporting people at home, resulting in a wide variation across the country in how these services are delivered, with no part of the country consistently delivering community urgent care services 365 days a year in line with these new national standards.
The 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.
These sites 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
- Norfolk and Waveney system