Volunteer Groups To Get £2m To Support Vulnerable Patients This Winter

NHSEnglandNHS England has today announced up to eight voluntary sector organisations will share £2m to provide extra help over the busy winter months.

The groups, including Age UK, British Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service, will run local projects that target those people most at risk of admission to hospital and who need extra support when they are discharged, such as older people living alone without a support network.

This is a joint initiative between the national tripartite (NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, with the Association of Directors of Social Services) and the Cabinet Office.

Sarah Pinto-Duschinsky, Director of NHS Operations and Delivery, said:

“The colder winter months can take their toll on many of us but none more so than older people and those with long-term conditions, where even the common cold, can trigger a hospital stay.

“These innovative projects will support the fantastic work of doctors and nurses across the NHS and help ease the pressure on busy our A&E departments by helping people stay well and recover from illness.”

Among the groups winning funding today is the Royal Voluntary Service in the East Midlands who will grow their ‘hospital to home’ service, that aim to help older people being discharged from hospital to recover and create social support networks so that they are less likely to be re-admitted.

David McCullough, Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding to expand our Home from Hospital scheme. We know that the right help on a return home from a hospital stay can make a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of older patients, and our research has found that support such as this can reduce readmissions by as much as 50 per cent.

“Home from hospital schemes are a cost-effective and successful way of enabling older patients to fully recover and integrate back into their community, allowing them to enjoy the quality of life they deserve.”

Age UK and the British Red Cross working together in Leeds will run a hospital discharge support and A&E admission avoidance service. The scheme will operate 7 days a week including holidays, with patients supported throughout their stay in hospital and at home.

Minister for Civil Society Brooks Newmark said:

“I am pleased to announce the winners of these exciting new funds. Taken together, we believe that these projects will showcase the potential of social action to reduce hospital pressures and improve patient experience, and will be sustained into the long-term by local commissioners.”

The funding is part of a commitment by NHS England to support innovative solutions that will help ease thepressure on services like A&E particularly around busy periods and will support the fantastic work of the paid staff across the country’s busy hospital network.