Helping keep people out of hospital is a crucial step

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Prevention is better than cure, runs the old adage.

And given the parlous state of our local NHS resources, it is one that it would be wise to heed, now more than ever.

Which is why we support the Enhanced Recovery and Support at Home (ERS) trial currently taking place in Hampshire.

The scheme is not entirely about prevention, as it aims to help people who have frequently been admitted to the hospital in the past.

But since the trial began last October, only five of the 139 people it has been helping have needed to be re-admitted to hospital.

Anything that reduces the burden on the overloaded NHS is definitely to be backed.

However, ERS is not intended to replace hospital care.

Nor is this about the so-called nanny state.

In recent months The News has regularly featured stories about the shortage of beds at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, ambulances backed up because they’re unable to unload their passengers and the repeated black alerts in the A&E department.

So it strikes us as an entirely commonsense move that will ultimately save time, money and free up those vital resources.

The ERS programme is not just about money though. Ultimately this is about the physical and mental wellbeing of the patients.

Staff operate to three main principles: recovery, reablement and rehabilitation.

Sometimes the simplest of tasks can help keep the frail and the elderly out of hospital.

And these are not necessarily medical tasks – things such as making sure the individual is getting regular meals, making them a cup of tea, or tidying up their home.

The scheme has cost £700,000 to set up and run, but it is expected to end in March when that cash runs out.

The hope is that more funding can be found to keep it going.

Yes, hospital entries do soar in the winter, but it would be a real shame for the positive work that is being done here to unravel because the money could not be found to sustain it.

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