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31st January 2023
The UK Government said that urgent care provided in the community will be expanded to ensure ‘people can get the care they need at home,’ without the need for a hospital admission and that the measures will be ‘aligned with priorities for primary care,’ including the forthcoming GP access recovery plan and the implementation of the Fuller stocktake report.
The two-year delivery plan for recovery announced today comes amid ‘record demand for NHS services’ and promises ‘boosted frontline capacity’, with 800 new ambulances, including 100 mental health vehicles and 5,000 more hospital beds, backed by a £1bn fund.
The new plans will see an increased number of clinicians – including retired staff and returners – working in NHS 111.
The services will run for at least 12 hours a day – responding to calls normally requiring an ambulance crew – and will mean people who have fallen or are injured can get care and treatment at home within two hours.
Parents and carers seeking health advice for children and young people using NHS 111 will have increased access to specialist advice, including support from paediatric clinicians who can help them manage illness at home or decide the best route for their care.
This will see some children referred directly to a same-day appointment with a specialist rather than attending A&E, which NHS England said would avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.
Direct access to urgent mental health support using NHS 111 is also being rolled out with people being able to select the mental health option when they call up for help.
NHS 111 will also be integrated into the NHS app to make it even easier for people to use, the plan said.
Same day emergency care units, staffed by consultants and nurses, will be open in every hospital with a major A&E, allowing thousands of people to avoid an overnight hospital stay.
The plans will also see a new scheme embedding family support workers across selected A&E sites – with at least one in every region – to provide support to children with non-urgent issues.
Amanda Pritchard, the NHS chief executive, said: ‘The NHS has experienced the start of a winter like no other – the threat of the flu and covid ‘twindemic’ became a reality and that was alongside huge demand for all services – from ambulance and A&E services to mental health and GP appointments.
Health secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘Every day of every week, tens of thousands of people receive safe, high-quality urgent and emergency care. However, with the NHS under unprecedented pressure from high Covid and flu cases and the backlog from the pandemic, too many people are waiting too long in A&E or for ambulances. ‘Today’s plan which is backed by record investment aims to rapidly cut waiting times, helping to deliver on one of the Government’s five priorities, while giving patients the confidence that health and social care services will be there for them when they need them.
This article first appeared in our sister publication Pulse.