Virgin Care plan helps reduce A&E visits in East Staffordshire

A simple key ring could help adults in East Staffordshire to avoid unnecessary visits to the accident and emergency department.

Virgin Care is working with the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) as part of its Improving Lives Programme to reduce hospital admissions and keep people healthy, happy and at home, to supply the keyrings which will go onto the keys of every ambulance in the area.

Displaying the contact number for the East Staffordshire Care Co-ordination Centre (CCC), the keyrings act as a reminder to ambulance staff that they can refer their patients to Virgin Care instead of taking them to Accident and Emergency, depending on their clinical need.

The Care Co-ordination Centre co-ordinates all of the adult community health services in East Staffordshire including out of hours doctors, and would respond by providing the appropriate care for the patient in their own home. This could include treating wounds that don’t require hospital treatment, assessing people who have had a fall but don’t have any obvious injuries, treating infections and supporting people with long term conditions.

Michelle Lee, Managing Director of the East Staffordshire Improving Lives Programme for Virgin Care, said: “By working closely with the ambulance service we are ensuring that only those people who really need to go to A&E end up there while – where clinically appropriate – our services are helping more people stay in their own homes.”

Rebecca Flintason, WMAS Operations Manager, said: “We welcome any scheme that will help to ensure patients get the most appropriate care for their condition.  If this scheme means that more people will be able to get treatment in the comfort of their own home in a timely manner rather than having to go to hospital, then we will welcome it.”

The key rings are a follow-up to a similar idea trialled with patients who are already ‘known’ by Virgin Care’s Rapid Response nursing service. Both schemes have been funded by Virgin Care’s Feel the Difference Fund, a £100,000-a-year fund dedicated to implementing ideas submitted by frontline colleagues.

Virgin Care has been delivering the Improving Lives programme since May 2016 and recently announced that its work to date had saved hundreds of East Staffordshire patients from attending hospital.

The programme focuses on helping people to be healthier for longer and helps those people with long-term health conditions to take more control over their own care. For more information about East Staffordshire Improving Lives, visit: www.eaststaffsimprovinglives.nhs.uk

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