Work by the fire and rescue services to help reduce demand for other services through prevention, including health and social care, is being showcased in a new document ‘Working Together’.
Underlying risk factors that ultimately result in fires, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, also have a strong impact on health.
Fire and rescue services are applying the principles of early intervention and prevention, to these health-related risk factors, resulting in a reduced demand for the services of others, whilst also continuing to reduce demand for fire and rescue.
A key aim of the NHS Five Year Forward View is to tackle widespread preventable illness and deep-rooted health inequalities through a radical upgrade in prevention and public health. By working with fire and rescue services, health and social care partners, from local authorities to CCGs, can make use of fire and rescue service expertise, experience, existing prevention mechanisms and ability to adapt engagement with those most at risk.
Fire and rescue services are being recognised as partners in the wider health and social care arena and, along with health and social care, are ready to meet the challenge of preventing avoidable illness, isolation and injury.
Opportunities for joint working include:
- Safe and Well visits – Many fire and rescue services have expanded their home safety visits to become Safe and Well visits. A Safe and Well visit is a person-centred home visit and expands the scope of previous home checks by focussing on health, as well as fire. It involves the systematic identification of, and response to, health and well-being issues along with fire risk reduction, ensuring people with complex needs and older people get the personalised, integrated care and support they need to live full lives and sustain their independence for longer.
- Children and young people – Working with young people is key to changing behaviours that lead to avoidable illness. Helping young people gain meaningful employment is one of the most effective ways to help them improve the impact of the wider determinants of health.
- Community Risk Intervention – Community Risk Intervention is a new model, building on the Safe and Well visit model and combining an expanded approach to home safety, risk reduction and increased independence with a response on behalf of police and ambulance services to low-priority, high-volume calls.
The Working Together document aims to support the Consensus Statement which launched on 1 October 2015 by five organisations – NHS England, Public Health England, the Chief Fire Officers Association, Age UK and the Local Government Association.