At the end of last year, the Authority placed a qualified social worker at SCAS’s emergency operations centre to work collaboratively alongside 999 emergency call takers in a unique trial. Believed to be the first of its kind across English Ambulance Services, the trial is designed to ensure people needing social care support were not being admitted to hospital unless there was a clear medical reason for doing so.
Once a 999-ambulance crew has attended an emergency incident, the paramedic team assesses the situation, and if they consider the patient requires adult social care support rather than medical intervention, the SCAS based social worker intervenes and organises the required help and assistance, freeing up the crew to attend their next call.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health at Hampshire County Council, said: “With the significant pressure on hospital beds across the county, it is right that we do all we can to ensure people receive the right care, in the right place. Most of us would prefer to avoid admission to hospital if we could – our trial is demonstrating that the involvement of adult social care at the right point in the 999 process, can result in people being diverted away from hospital into a setting that is much more appropriate for their needs, freeing up beds for those who really need them.”
Luci Stephens, Director of Operations for SCAS clinical co-ordination centres, said: “This is an exciting and innovative pilot that is already demonstrating benefits to our patients in this geographical area, as well as to the wider health care economy in relieving system pressures. This pilot illustrates how well collaborative working across all services to deliver high standards of health and social care to our patients can be achieved.”
Due to the success of the trial, the County Council and SCAS are continuing to work in partnership and there are plans to extend this service for the next financial year.