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Service to cut A&E visits from frequent callers in the Black Country a Success

Vulnerable patients are benefitting from a new frequent user project across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

A one year evaluation of the project commissioned by Dudley CCG and Dudley CVS has shown that in those patients who frequently attend A&E, there was a 33% reduction in attendances and a 41% reduction in inpatient admissions, saving the NHS almost £500 thousand.

Delivered by the Dudley CVS Integrated Plus social prescribing team and match-funded by Dudley CCG and the Department of Health, the service offers a robust way of reducing avoidable frequent user activity to 999, NHS 111, A&E, and hospital admissions, freeing up front line resources to improve care for all patients and reduce costs. 

Working together with partners, the HIU team uses a flexible and innovative non-clinical approach, to target high users of services and support the most vulnerable people within the community to flourish and find purpose in their lives.

This is in line with the Right Care Programme, which is part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s focus to better understand the needs of patients who are frequent users of emergency departments. Both will work to improve waiting times and response in emergency departments for those patients with the highest care needs is a priority. Kelly Rea, (lUrgent Care Link Worker, HIU Team said: 

“It all starts with a phone call, from which I am able to actively listen to understand the needs of those patients who are accessing A&E departments on a regular basis.

“I like to arrange a face-to-face appointment as soon as possible to gain a better understanding of their situation. On the first visit, I try my best to make it very relaxed to allow them to tell their story.”

A local service user added:

“This service, in my opinion, is vital to help other people from utter despair, I cannot explain in words what this service has done for me.

“After another attempt to end it all, I was given a lifeline, introduced to my link worker from Integrated Plus, always at the end of the phone, caring and understanding, non-judgmental who listens to my every need in my recovery.

“My link worker takes me out for coffee and shopping and has enabled me to laugh again and understand a future without pain. I look forward to her visits helping me to feel normal again”.

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