Wigan health team frees up 999 staff for real emergenices

A new Wigan health team formed to relieve pressure on strained emergency departments has saved more than 400 hours of ambulance time, the town hall says.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 12:00 pm
Ambulances queuing outside Wigan Infimary last winter as A&E was pushed to breaking point

The Community Response Team (CRT) visits patients who have called 999 but do not require hospital treatment.

Launched earlier this year, the team – made up of health and social care experts – frees up the ambulance service to concentrate on serious incidents, council bosses say.

Figures presented to councillors say it has prevented 845 trips to A&E, the equivalent of 422 hours of ambulance availability, since August.

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The new approach is seen as a flagship example of the borough’s integration of health and social care services.

Deputy leader Coun Keith Cunliffe said: “It relieves pressure on the ambulance service for it to deal with what it should be doing, which is dealing with serious incidents.

Our teams are a great example of how GPs, social care, community and hospital NHS services working together can ensure our residents get the best care for themselves and their families.”

The team is based either at council buildings or health centres and provides care either in the patient’s own home or other non-hospital health facilities such as clinics.

Call responders at the North West Ambulance Service started using the service in August, identifying residents who require health or social care intervention but do not need treatment in

hospital.

In certain circumstances ambulances may be used to transfer patients to “step up beds” – temporary placements located in borough care homes – rather than them being admitted to hospital.

Referrals can also be made to the CRT by health and social care professionals.

Coun Cunliffe added: “By joining up services and putting people first we are improving lives.”

From April next year the council and the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) will have a merged decision making body, part of the closer working relationship between the two sectors.