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Working Together – how health, social care and fire and rescue services can increase their reach, scale and impact through joint working

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 AssociationAge UK and the Local Government Association.

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3 comments

  1. Kath Horner says:

    The South Yorkshire Dementia Action Alliances are working collaboratively on a 2 year project to keep people safe at home from fire; raising awareness about Safe & Well and keeping dementia on top of the agenda in line with PM Challenge on Dementia 2020.

  2. sjill says:

    its great that there is more joint working and sharing information across agencies , what a shame the technology does match!
    we are expected to use host networks with local health partnerships and the NHS, however the hardware provided is not able to sync all these together so we have different devices that do different things not very cost or time effective !

  3. Chris says:

    The aim of the NHS Five Year Forward View has some interesting intervention plans, which are needed across the health community. The need for more integrated care, support and prevention is still a complex issue and one that will involve large scale stakeholder engagement and buy in, GPs in particular.

    The Safe and Well visit is an excellent plan, but thinking of the elderly, I would hope that these are done with a family member or carer present, especially when you are dealing with people with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s.

    Having taken responsibility for caring for my 83 year old dad since a recent health scare, I am only too aware of the minefield of ‘Social Services’ and ‘Community Health Services’ and the difficulties that are evident in the ‘Pathways of Care’. .

    Although we have some excellent services available, some are not as easy to access as you would expect, and information is not getting out through the right channels. .

    Not only have I been surprised by what I have found to be difficulties in the referral process to vital services, but I have also been surprised by the lack of information that other elderly relatives in need of these services have had, particularly with regard to risk and prevention.

    Pathways of Care
    Referrals
    First Point of Contact
    Sharing of Information – Across these complex services have all got to be in place for this plan to work.