Reducing demand on hospital services during this challenging time

Leaders across Suffolk and north east Essex say they have been managing dozens of 999 calls each day during this week’s strike action without the need to take patients to emergency departments.

The team consists of clinicians which base themselves together in one geographical location and have direct links to outstanding ambulance calls in real time.

Senior clinicians assess whether patients could be seen or treated in the community, rather than being taken into hospital emergency departments.

Leaders say this service, which is currently being trialled, has assisted to reduce demand on hospital services during a challenging period.

Dr Andrew Kelso, Medical Director at the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “This is about keeping people at home safely and sending the most appropriate service to them.

“This could include Urgent Community Response service, GP Home Visiting Services, falls support or issuing a prescription for the patient to collect.

“Based on the team’s collective knowledge and direct access to many other services and systems across the community, they link with the referrer, patient, ambulance service and alternative existing care services to determine the most appropriate course of action.

“They co-ordinate safely, keeping the patient at home when it is clinically safe to do so.

“The number of patients being cared for within hospital Emergency Departments remains substantial as we contend with current challenges to keep patients safe.

“It’s vital we continue to work together as a system to find ways of delivering the right care for individuals as well as easing pressure on emergency departments within our hospitals.”

“To help our staff, I also would like to remind people that if you need urgent care, but it’s not life-threatening, you can visit 111 online, call 111, visit your local pharmacist or contact your GP during opening hours.”