Thousands of people have avoided travelling to hospital and instead have received care and treatment closer to their homes in the second full year of the Vanguard programme across Morecambe Bay.
Schemes put into place by the partners working on the Better Care Together programme – Bay Health and Care Partners – have meant more than 3,000 people avoided having to travel to hospital:
– Advice and Guidance is a system which allows GPs to seek advice from a hospital specialist on patients where they are unsure of the approach to adopt.
In the 11 months to the end of February 2017, there were 1,439 avoided new outpatient referrals, which means people can be treated closer to home.
– In Ophthalmology a new scheme began in September 2016 where people with minor eye conditions and people requiring follow up appointments were seen by optometrists in the community rather than having to travel to hospital. In the first 18 weeks, 1,639 people were seen.
– A new Patient Initiated Follow Up system has been trialled in the rheumatology service, which means that patients who previously were seen at a regular review are discharged – but can access advice and help if they suffer a deterioration in their condition when they need it. Almost 300 patients have transferred onto this new system.
– In the musculo-skeletal service a pilot began in December in which clinically triaged patients are reviewed by a community based physiotherapy-led service. The new service has seen 242 new patients and 127 follow ups in community clinics – which have resulted in a significant reduction in referrals to an Orthopaedic surgeon.
In addition work by the 12 Integrated Care Communities across the Morecambe Bay area has seen people avoid having unscheduled visits to hospital. – Current figures show between April 2015 and December 2016 our local health system has seen a 3.1% reduction in emergency admissions and 1.5% reduction in total bed days compared to 2014-15.
– A series of films has been created and published on common conditions that people visit their GPs with, giving advice so people can care for themselves at home. To date these films have been seen more than 4,000 times.
– Telehealth links in Millom have helped some people gain expert advice and avoid travelling to Furness General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.
– Children across the area are being encouraged to run-a-mile a day in schools – improving their fitness and concentration. We have also worked with GPs to ensure children are treated in the community where possible and if they have to go to hospital their stay is shorter due to new ways of working. In Morecambe we have worked with a group of children who have needed to see our doctors most often and early results show a reduction in their admissions by a third, and in Barrow-in-Furness we have piloted joint hospital and community clinics closer to people’s homes. – More than 1,000 children in the area have watched the `Big Sick, Little Sick’ play which teaches them to use NHS services appropriately.
Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Bay Health and Care Partners have come together in a unique way and we are already seeing results. “When we carried out our engagement people said they didn’t want to travel to hospital as often and the schemes we are putting into place are ensuring they can avoid those hospital trips. “Our aim will be to continue to develop schemes to make providing care become more convenient to the people living in Morecambe Bay.”
Andrew Bennett, Chief Officer of NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, and the senior responsible officer for the Better Care Together programme, said: “Involving the community is vital to the success of our programme. “We will continue to engage with our communities, and look to learn from other areas of the country on how we can continue to improve.”