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Emergency response service tackles unnecessary A&E admissions

GPs in Leicester are launching a new scheme which aims to prevent avoidable emergency hospital admissions from care homes and housebound patients.

Until now, GPs traditionally made their home visits in the afternoon, after morning surgery at the GP practice but with patients or carers feeling they couldn’t wait for an afternoon visit resulted in them going straight to A&E.

But the new service funded by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is aiming to change this by creating a morning service which will see GPs provide a rapid response service to the most urgent home visit requests to care homes and housebound patients. The second is an afternoon service which will be provided for less seriously ill patients. A robust care plan for the individual patient will already be in place for the individual. This will be followed by care home staff in the event of an episode of illness, allowing the patient to be treated where appropriate in the care home rather than being taken to A&E.

Over 20 practices are included in the first wave of the pilot which is the first of its kind to be developed by a local clinical commissioning group and will be launched for a period of 12 months from July 2013.

Dr Umesh Roy, Leicester City CCG governing body member and GP clinical lead on the project, said: “This project supports the CCG’s objective to improve the flow of patients accessing emergency services at accident and emergency.

“We spotted an opportunity to work closer with local care homes and community health services. We want to manage the most urgent GP home visit requests first, so these patients are seen and dealt with quickly and effectively as well as work with local care homes to increase the number of individual patient care plans that are in place for residents. This will mean that if these patients require medical care, they can be assessed and treated by care home staff in accordance with their personal care plan. Extra training will enable staff to identify earlier if their condition deteriorates. The GP can then make them a priority.”

In the last year there have been over 800 unplanned admissions from care homes. The CCG aims to reduce this by an average of 1.5 admissions per day, or 540 admissions during 2013/14. The project as a whole is projected to save £1.1million per year which can be reinvested into other vital health services.

The service will be provided by the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) service. SSAFA’s health and social care staff provide services for forces and their families in the UK and around the world, including British Forces Germany and already provide a walk in centre service for local patients which is based at Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre.

At the end of the twelve months the project will go through an evaluation process to see if the project has been successful. If analysis shows it has the project may continue citywide.

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