HUNDREDS of people have avoided being admitted to hospital unnecessarily in the last eight months thanks to a new scheme.
The collaboration between Hampshire County Council’s adult social care team and South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) has seen a reduction of number of people in south-east Hampshire being admitted to hospital unnecessarily by more than 580.
At the end of last year, the council placed a social worker at SCAS’s emergency operations centre to work with 999 call handlers in a trial designed to ensure people needing social care were not being admitted to hospital without a medical reason.
Luci Stephens, director of operations for SCAS clinical co-ordination centres, said: ‘This is an exciting and innovative pilot that is already demonstrating benefits to our patients in this geographical area, as well as to the wider health care economy in relieving system pressures.
‘This pilot illustrates how well collaborative working across all services to deliver high standards of health and social care to our patients can be achieved.’
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and health at Hampshire County Council, added: ‘With the significant pressure on hospital beds across the county, it is right that we do all we can to ensure people receive the right care, in the right place.
'Most of us would prefer to avoid admission to hospital if we could – our trial is demonstrating that the involvement of adult social care at the right point in the 999 process, can result in people being diverted away from hospital into a setting that is much more appropriate for their needs, freeing up beds for those who really need them.’
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Due to the success of the trial, there are plans to extend the service for the next financial year.
It comes after SCAS admitted there was a shortage of ambulances meaning some crews started shifts without a vehicle. The latest board report said it was often up to between 12 and 15 ambulances short and deemed it ‘completely unacceptable’. It is hoped 52 new ambulances will arrive by mid-November.