Popular new health service clears waiting list

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Patients were forced to wait to join a new health service designed to ease the pressure on GPs and the hospital.

The Extensive Care Service, rolled out across the Fylde coast last year, is open to those over the age of 60 with two or chronic conditions.

After a slow start, the demand became so great a waiting list developed – though clinicians have now worked through their backlog.

A spokesman for the service said: “Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of referrals to our Extensive Care service from local GPs.

“This is obviously really good news as it means that even more local people and their families are benefitting from the extra support available to help them stay well and out-of-hospital.”

Health bosses have seen a 14 per cent fall in A&E visits from patients in the service, and unplanned hospital admissions have dropped by a quarter.

The spokesman added: “The service is helping to reduce the demands on a patient’s GP practice too, with them requiring far less face-to-face and telephone appointments with their GP.”

Last May, The Gazette reported the number of patients being referred into the service was ‘lower than expected’.

The referral criteria was relaxed and the process was being ‘streamlined’, health bosses said in documents.

By the end of December, 1,728 referrals had been received, governors at Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for organising and buying healthcare locally, heard.