NHS and Voluntary Sector boost partnership working over winter

The NHS and three voluntary sector organisations are boosting their partnership to support people 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 South West Age UK, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance are using a share of £349,421 from NHS England and NHS Improvement to help care for patients who are both in and out of hospital.

The providers are running 19 schemes across the region, all of which have been chosen to help support the needs of the local communities.

British Red Cross are running assisted discharge services in five hospitals across the region, including Bristol Royal Infirmary and North Bristol Trust, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Bournemouth and Plymouth University Hospitals Trust.

The organisation has also scaled up their longer length of stay provision in Weston Area Health Trust, Weston-Super-Mare.

This service helps vulnerable patients make the transition home from hospital.

Matt Wall, Operations Manager for British Red Cross in the South West, said: “We make sure people’s practical, emotional and social needs are addressed when they leave hospital.”

“In Cornwall, we’ve also been able to use our committed volunteers to provide some follow-up support in people’s homes to help them settle back in well and deal with any worries or concerns they have.”

The local Age UKs in the region are working across four hospitals in the South West. A lady was supported by Age UK Bath and North East Somerset when they transported her home from hospital.

She said: “After being in hospital for over a week a lovely kind woman came to the ward and brought me home, after collecting some shopping for me.”

“The pressure of worrying how I was going to get home or manage tasks was too much to think about, but I was so happy to have someone take away some of that pressure.”

Duncan Thomas, Out of Hospital Service and Statutory Project Manager for Age UK Gloucestershire, said:
“Our team is very experienced at supporting older people and we are embedded within and across health and social care teams at hospitals to make sure that the transitions from hospital to home is as smooth as possible.”

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.”

Martin Wilkinson, Director of Performance & Improvement for NHS England and NHS Improvement said:
“It’s expected that the schemes will help over 1,900 people in the South West this winter, although given last year’s success this number could be much higher than originally planned.”