NHS and voluntary sector boost partnership working over winter

The NHS and three voluntary sector organisations are boosting their partnership to support people across the Midlands this winter.

This follows the success of last year’s collaboration which directly supported over 8,000 patients across the country.

Whilst the NHS and voluntary sector maintain a close partnership all year round, this is increased during the winter months to support patients’ recovery in their own home.

In the Midlands Age UK, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance are using a share of £402,242 from NHS England and NHS Improvement to help care for patients who are both in and out of hospital.

The providers are running 11 schemes across the region, all of which have been chosen to help support the needs of the local communities.

British Red Cross is providing four winter pressure services across the region.

This includes an assisted discharge service at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Queen’s Medical in Nottingham, The Princess Royal Hospital and Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham.

Justin Prescott, Operations Manager for British Red Cross in the Midlands and East of England, said: “We are pleased to be working alongside NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide valuable extra support this winter.

“We help people address their practical, emotional and social needs so they feel safe and supported.

“We think this gives people the best chance of rebuilding and maintaining their independence.”

Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire have provided over 360 hours of support to over 140 people helping individuals to remain in their homes by providing a tailored ‘wrap around’ service.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “By complementing the essential role of healthcare professionals, voluntary organisations can help bring the idea of whole-person care to life.

“By providing early support we can prevent older people needing more intensive treatment and care, whether that’s by avoiding a hospital admission or by getting them home earlier through putting good support in place.”

St John Ambulance provided a total of 420 ambulance hours in the Midlands in December.

The organisation deployed health care professionals, ambulance crews and first aiders to Birmingham City Centre to work alongside the West Midlands Ambulance Service, offering help in the city’s Southside.

Adam Williams, National Head of Community Response at St John Ambulance, said: “St John Ambulance is proud to provide support in communities across the country throughout the year.

“We always support the NHS during seasonal peaks and troughs and lend our CQC approved services, fleet and highly trained people when needed.”

Jeff Worrall, Director of Improvement and Performance for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “Partnership working is vital all year round, but especially during the winter months when we know our NHS is at its busiest. We’re pleased to be able to support initiatives like these which really showcase the impact working together can have on delivering effective, safe and high-quality patient care.”

It’s expected that the schemes will help over 1,600 people in the Midlands this winter, although given last year’s success this number could be much higher than originally planned.