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We need to find alternatives to 999 for care homes and falls

The NHS needs to do more to support care homes and people who have fallen with alternatives to ambulance calls and hospital admissions, the NHS England chief executive has said. 

Speaking at the Ambulance Leadership Forum, Amanda Pritchard acknowledged this winter would be a difficult one for the health service, saying: “The scale of the current and potential challenge mean that we do need to continue to look further for what else we can do… We need to pull out all the stops to make sure that they [patients] get that treatment as safely as possible and as quickly as possible.”

She added one area of focus should be making sure certain patient groups can access other – more appropriate – forms of care, rather than calling an ambulance by default and often resulting in hospital admission.

On care homes, she said: “Can we wrap around even more care for these care homes so they get to the point where they don’t need to call for help at all or, if they do, there are alternatives pathways [to the emergency department]?”

She suggested another area where responses could be made more consistent was for patients who had fallen but without serious injuries, which she said made up a “really significant part of activity”. These patients took a long time to reach and, if admitted to hospital, risked long admissions, she said.

Some areas were working to find other ways of responding to non-injury falls patients and trying to keep them away from hospital, she said.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 6 September 2022


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