Pilot scheme provides urgent care to nearly 2,800 patients in own homes

A pilot scheme that sees community services team up with paramedics to provide urgent treatment to people at home has responded to 2,791 patients since it started.

Community rapid response teams from Central London Community NHS Trust (CLCH) in Wandsworth and Merton have been working with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to respond to patients who need urgent treatment at home.

The scheme – launched in October 2022 – allows patients who have reduced mobility to be treated at home rather than having to wait for an ambulance, go to busy emergency departments, or be admitted to a ward. 

The new initiative also aims to reduce unnecessary trips to hospital.

At the visits, community clinicians are also able to assess and respond to other needs of patients by ordering them equipment to prevent falls or referring them to further services like GP or social care services, for longer term support.

Expanding urgent community response teams was one of the key priorities in NHS England’s Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan published earlier this year to improve urgent and emergency care ahead of winter.

Alison Blakely, director of clinical pathways and transformation at London Ambulance Service, said: “Until now, many of these patients would have been taken to hospital. But we know with treatment and support at home or in a community setting, most of those don’t need to go to a busy emergency department or be admitted to a ward – and most don’t want to go.

“This is making a real difference to patient experience – not to mention relieving the pressure on hospitals.”

The pilot will continue under review for another six months.

Pictured top: From left, Lucy Higgins and Lauren Rixon, from the urgent community response team in Merton and Wandsworth (Picture: Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust)

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