Rapid response teams to launch in April

Rapid response teams have been announced to be on hand within two hours to help support older people to remain well at home and avoid hospital admissions.

Local health service and council teams will begin the roll out of Urgent Community Response teams from April, to support England’s ageing population and those with complex needs.

The teams will give those who need it fast access to a range of qualified professionals who can address both their health and social care needs, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, medication prescribing and reviews, and help with staying well-fed and -hydrated.

Backed by £14million of investment, seven ‘accelerator’ sites will be the first to deliver the new standards for care, working together to standardise how urgent community services will be measured, and delivered consistently across the country, 365 days a year.

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England said: “The NHS working hand in glove in the community with council-funded social care services can be the difference between an older person or someone with long-term health needs spending a week or a month on a ward – or getting the right help early so they don’t need to go to hospital in the first place.”

“That’s why as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS we are putting community services front and centre, and backing them with a growing share of the NHS budget – and putting in place these new standards will give people and their families peace of mind about what they can expect from their local services when they need help most.”

Matthew Winn, NHS Director of Community Health and Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust said: “For the first time in its 71-year history, NHS national plans prioritise community health services, providing a genuine opportunity to do something different when caring for people facing a health crisis at home.”

“We have committed to ensure all patients in England get the right community care, in a timely manner when they need it most by 2023/24.”

Seven ‘accelerator’ sites have been selected to develop the two hour/two day NHS standards, and include partnerships of providers of community health services, NHS commissioners, councils and adult social care teams, and 111 and ambulance services.

They are:

  • Warrington Together (Cheshire and Merseyside STP);
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (Kirklees);
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland system;
  • Cornwall system;
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire system;
  • South East London system; and
  • Norfolk and Waveney system