A new specialist team is set to launch in Northamptonshire next month providing dedicated urgent care for some of our county’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Northamptonshire Rapid Response service will attend urgent calls to help frail older people who have suffered falls, as well as people living in care homes with nonlife- threatening health care needs – ensuring they can quickly access the treatment and support they need while easing pressure on our ambulance services and hospital emergency departments.

On an average day in Northamptonshire around eight people aged over 65 have to be taken to hospital after suffering falls, while twice that number are taken to hospital from local care homes.

Often these patients end up experiencing long hospital stays even though the care and support they needed might been better provided where they live. Evidence shows that staying in a hospital bed for longer than is medically necessary results in frail people becoming even frailer – leaving them less able to live independently and stay well.

From 1 November the new Rapid Response team will be ready to attend urgent calls to falls and care homes.

Staffed by experienced specialist NHS and social care professionals with use of a dedicated East Midlands Ambulance Service vehicle, the team will be equipped to quickly assess patients and ensure they get the treatment and support they need without delay. Northamptonshire Rapid Response will be operational seven days a week from 8am to midnight and will be directed to calls by 999 and 111 services, as well as handling urgent referrals from health and care professionals.

The team will attend seven to eight calls a day with a target response time of under 60 minutes – helping an expected three-quarters of patients get the care they need without having to go to hospital. This in turn will prevent around 11 unnecessary long hospital stays every week.

The Rapid Response service is one of a number of projects developed by NHCP’s urgent and emergency care team as part of a delivery plan to prepare our county’s health and care system for winter.

Jane Taylor, head of urgent care for Northamptonshire CCGs, said: “This is just one example of the positive action we’re taking in Northamptonshire to ensure local health and care services are better equipped to cope with the added pressures of winter – and, more importantly, to deliver better health outcomes for local people.

“We’re confident our new Rapid Response team will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of some of our county’s most vulnerable residents, demonstrating just how effective we can be when we work together in partnership.”

This work responds to the ‘Personalised Care’ category of our community’s Big Ideas for the future of local health and care