Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was announced to be a pilot area for a programme aimed at keeping older people out of hospital, and helping them to stay well at home.

As part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan, community teams will be enabled to respond quickly to peoples’ needs and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

The additional investment will see urgent requests responded to within two hours. In addition, support to help people regain their ability to perform their usual activities like cooking meals, washing and getting about will be provided within two days. The quicker response times will help people to remain well, in their own homes and independent 365 days a year.

Helen Childs, chief operating officer at NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group the lead for Embrace (Ageing Well) said: ‘We are delighted to be announced as one of seven sites nationally to lead the introduction of standardised response times and improved outcomes for people.

“Locally, one in four people are over the age of 65; and we know that historically we haven’t always provided them with the best outcome because we weren’t able to provide rapid, timely access to short term community services. Today’s announcement will allow us to accelerate our plans, as part of the Embrace Care programme, to support mainly older people at home.

“This will be better for people, their families and also means that hospital beds are available for the people who need these very specialist services and expertise.”

In future, people like 84 year old Irene who has two long-term conditions and requires a hospital admission to treat a life threatening medical emergency, will very quickly be referred to the community team. As Irene usually lives independently at home with limited support from her daughter, the community team will talk to her about her discharge and what support she will need to safely return home. Within a week, Irene will be discharged from hospital and into the care of her community team.

Phil Confue, chief executive of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, added: “This investment will significantly boost our plans to transform how we respond to the needs of older people. GPs, ambulance colleagues and partners from across health and care will have a real alternative to seeking a hospital admission – knowing they can request and receive a response within two hours or days based on what people need.

“For example, in the case of Bill, 78 who has an infection which needs to be treated with IV antibiotics; instead of admitting him to hospital, his GP will refer him to his community team who will help him recover at home. The community team will visit Bill to administer his antibiotics and monitor his recovery, calling on other services to support him as required.”

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will begin to develop its urgent community response services with the design of the new service model ready for April this year. We anticipate full county roll out by April 2021.

The findings from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s scheme will be shared across the South West so similar schemes will be made available to everyone.

The seven accelerator sites announced by NHS England and Improvement are:

  • Warrington Together – Cheshire and Merseyside STP;
  • Kirklees – West Yorkshire and Harrogate STP;
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland STP;
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly STP;
  • Buckingham, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP;
  • South East London STP; and
  • Norfolk and Waveney STP.

The accelerator sites will work closely with the rest of the country.