BGS responds to NHS England and NHS Improvement’s ‘rapid response teams’ initiative to help older people stay well at home

24 January 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement has announced that expert rapid response teams will be on hand within two hours to help support older people to remain well at home and avoid hospital admissions.

Local health service and council teams will begin the roll-out of Urgent Community Response teams from April, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to support England’s ageing population and those with complex needs.

The teams will give those who need it fast access to a range of qualified professionals who can address both their health and social care needs, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, medication prescribing and reviews, and help with staying well-fed and -hydrated.

Backed by £14million of investment, seven ‘accelerator’ sites will be the first to deliver the new standards for care, working together to standardise how urgent community services will be measured, and delivered consistently across the country, 365 days a year.

Older people and adults with complex health needs who have a very urgent care need, including a risk of being hospitalised, will be able to access a response from a team of skilled professionals within two hours, to provide the care they need to remain independent. In addition, a two-day standard will also apply for health and care teams to put in place tailored packages of intermediate care, or reablement services, for individuals in their own homes, with the aim of restoring independence and confidence after a hospital stay.

In response to the announcement Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

We warmly welcome NHS England and NHS Improvement’s announcement that seven accelerator sites will be allocated funding to pilot an Urgent Community Response service to help support older people to remain well at home and avoid hospital admissions. We believe that this is a positive step towards honouring the commitments set out in the Ageing Well workstream of the NHS Long Term Plan. We hope to see encouraging outcomes from these sites that will, over time, positively inform service design more widely across the NHS. We will continue to offer NHSE support through our members’ expertise, as new initiatives are announced in relation to this key area of healthcare policy.” 

Read the full NHS England and NHS Improvement press release here.