New Virgin Care service aims to reduce hospital admissions

Patients at risk of being admitted to hospital in West Lancashire are set to benefit from a new service providing care to them in their own homes.

The short intensive support service (SISS), run by us in partnership with West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), will launch on October 1.

It aims to make a difference to frail, older people and those with long term conditions who would prefer to be treated at home in a familiar environment rather than being taken in to hospital. It also aims to help reduce pressure on accident and emergency teams.

Ambulance staff, GPs and other healthcare professionals will be able to refer patients to the multi-disciplinary SISS team, which is led by advanced nurse practitioners and includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and support work staff.

The team will provide care to a patient at home for up to 72 hours, up to six times a day, helping to stabilise their condition and avoid an emergency admission to hospital.

SISS will be fully integrated with other health, social care and voluntary sector services to ensure a seamless package of care for each patient during and after the 72 hours; supporting them in a fast recovery and in continuing to live independently.

Michelle Lee, our managing director in West Lancashire, said: “We are delighted to be working with the CCG to continue to develop services that make a real difference to people in West Lancashire. We will also be working closely with ambulance staff, GPs and other healthcare professionals to identify those at most risk of admission to hospital and those in need of this new service. This is about delivering care tailored to individual patients’ needs and we look forward to seeing the benefits this can bring.”

Claire Heneghan, chief nurse and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “Our aim is to develop and enhance community and local walk-in and out of hours’ services, helping to prevent avoidable acute hospital attendance, relieving pressure on such a vital resource. When the CCG created our vision for joined up care, we promised our community truly integrated care that would take care of them, and the new service is a great example of that vision. We will monitor the effectiveness of this service and listen to patient feedback as the service is implemented.”