Fylde coast residents will benefit from £4.32m of new healthcare funding, it has been announced.
Some of the cash will go towards setting up and staffing a Neighbourhood Care Team in Fleetwood – the only area yet to have one – while care homes will get money for technology such as broadband internet and iPads, so residents can have video consultations rather than visit their GP or go to hospital.
Peter Tinson, the chief operating officer at Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We’ve made substantial progress to date in transforming how local people, who often need the most help to stay well, receive the care they need. This investment is a significant endorsement of that progress and in the potential of our future intentions to continue improving care for others with the introduction of our Neighbourhood Care Teams.”
In recent years, the Fylde coast ‘vanguard’, a group of local CCGs, councils, and the Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has placed an emphasis on prevention rather than cure.
As well as the neighbourhood teams, which see GPs working alongside community nurses, therapists, well-being workers with people over 18 who require additional support, the Extensive Care Service has also been launched.
That sees people over the age of 60 with two or more long-term conditions get more support closer to home rather than in hospital, with eligible patients referred by their GP.
The scheme was piloted and launched last year before being rolled out across the entire Fylde coast earlier in 2016, and health bosses say early indications show a 13 per cent reduction in A&E attendances for those benefitting from the service, as well as a 25 per cent fall in unexpected admissions, an 18 per cent reduction in out-patient appointments, and a 37 per cent fall in planned hospital visits.
Dr Amanda Doyle, a resort GP and chief clinical officer at Blackpool CCG, said: “We are very pleased with the changes we have made to the care provided to people living on the Fylde Coast.
“As well as involving residents more in the way services are provided, we’ve cut the number needing to use local A&E services or be admitted to hospital.
“We’ve also taken pressure off our local GP services.”
The Fleetwood neighbourhood team is expected to be up and running by January or February next year.
The vanguard, one of 50 across the country, is expected to develop new ways of providing care. The government says they act as a blueprint for future NHS services and as an inspiration to the rest of the healthcare system.
And Samantha Jones, director of the New Care Models Programme, said: “The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff.
“2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services.
“This funding, as well as the support we offer to them, will help them to continue to move at pace.”