Major national plan to recover urgent and emergency care will improve patient care in the North West
2 months ago
A MAJOR national plan to help recover urgent and emergency care services, reduce waiting times, will lead to improvement in patient care across the North West, with dedicated staff already working hard to make progress.
The national plan announced on Monday included plans for 800 new ambulances,100 specialist mental health vehicles, and 5,000 more sustainable hospital beds backed by a £1 billion dedicated fund.
The North West Regional Director for Performance and Delivery, Andrew Crawshaw said the response from NHS doctors, nurses, GPs, therapists, pharmacists and managers has been “inspirational”, as they’ve worked to bring down waiting lists whilst at the same time seeing record numbers of people in A&E, mental health services and GP practices across the region.
Latest figures for the North West, show that between November and December 2022 alone, the NHS saw A&E attendances rise by more than 4% and 111 calls rise by more than 70%. Calls to the Ambulance service also rose by 13%.
Andrew Crawshaw said:
“The NHS in the North West has been under more pressure than I have ever known in my 36 years working in the service – the threat of the ‘twindemic’ of flu and covid became a reality and that was alongside huge demand for all services – from ambulance and A&E services to mental health and GP appointments.
“We are incredibly grateful to all the NHS staff who continue to work day in and day out to deliver care to hundreds of thousands of people and for the extensive preparations put in place ahead of winter. Their hard work and dedication have meant that we have already introduced a number of developments that are starting to have an impact. The announcement about additional resources will help to boost their efforts further.”
There are a number of schemes in place to provide additional beds, help to look after people in the comfort of their own homes, support people who have had a fall and expand diagnostic testing. There is now full regional coverage of the two-hour urgent community response service, with 3,135 referrals received in November.
There are now 15 providers supplying virtual ward services, which have treated over 4,000 patients since April last year. And Progress Lifeline is just one of the falls response services, which operates across some areas in Lancashire, South Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside, with latest data showing they responded to 615 referrals in October.
The national plan includes plans to invest further in the Urgent Community Response Service, Same day emergency care units and virtual wards. The two-year national plan aims to stabilise services to meet the NHS’s two major recovery ambitions, to help achieve A&E four-hour performance of 76% by March 2024 and improve category two ambulance response times to an average of 30 minutes over the next year, with further improvement in the following year.
These ambitions represent one of the fastest and longest sustained improvements in emergency waiting times in the NHS’s history.
NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said:
“We introduced more call handlers, more beds and 24/7 system control centres to manage increased demand, and this new plan sets out how we will boost that progress and help improve the experiences of patients who will benefit from quicker, better care, in the right setting.
“The front door to the NHS is often where we can see the pressures build up – and to relieve that pressure, we will continue to work with social care colleagues to free up space in hospitals so that people who are well enough to leave can be discharged and get the care they need at home or in the community.
“The history of the NHS is one of change and innovation and so, while striving to meet the needs of today’s patients, we are also looking to the future of the NHS and will shortly set out our workforce plan – which is a once in a generation opportunity to put the NHS on a sustainable footing.”