Urgent community response services

Urgent community response teams provide urgent care to people in their homes which helps to avoid hospital admissions and enable people to live independently for longer. Through these teams, older people and adults with complex health needs who urgently need care, can get fast access to a range of health and social care professionals within two hours. This includes access to physiotherapy and occupational therapy, medication prescribing and reviews, and help with staying well-fed and hydrated.

In 2021/22, providers, commissioners and systems have taken important actions to improve the capacity and responsiveness of existing UCR services to deliver care within two hours. In line with national roll-out of the two-hour standard by April 2022, integrated care systems (ICS) should provide a consistent service at scale, from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week (at a minimum) across the full geography of each ICS.

ICSs should accept referrals into UCR services from all appropriate sources and submit complete data returns to the Community Services Data Set to demonstrate achievement of the two-hour standard.

The following revised guidance sets out system requirements for 2022/23 to realise scale and impact. This includes a performance framework and national targets. It also sets out essential operational and clinical requirements for NHS-funded UCR services that ICSs, providers and commissioners must achieve to meet the national standard. Delivery of a consistent UCR response across the country, in line with the nine clinical conditions/needs included in this document should be a priority for systems during 2022/23.

Further information on operational and clinical requirements associated with the two-hour urgent community response standard:

Further information regarding data collection and reporting requirements associated with the two-hour urgent community response standard:

Performance and activity

2-hour Urgent Community Response data is published monthly, covering:

  • the percentage of 2-hour UCR referrals meeting the 2-hour standard (in month)
  • the number of 2-hour UCR referrals received (in month)
  • the number of 2-hour UCR care contacts delivered (in month)

Data is shown nationally for each provider, integrated care system (ICS) and region to compare performance across the country.

Guidance and resources