Occupational therapists in an area of Norfolk and Suffolk will be able to provide more early intervention to patients in their own homes following the acquisition of an early intervention vehicle.
NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed to provide a permanent funding package for the vehicle, which will mean those needing occupational therapy and other services, such as physiotherapy, following a 999 call can receive help without having to go to hospital, the Great Yarmouth Mercury reports.
The vehicle is being provided as part of a collaboration between the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) James Paget University Hospital and both Norfolk and Suffolk county councils. Funding of £540,000 will be provided over a three-year period.
In this initiative, each ambulance despatches an emergency medical technician, along with a specialist member of staff, such as an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist. As well as avoiding hospital trips, the home sessions can also be used to make assessments from which further referrals can be made for additional health and social care support.
The permanent funding is now in place following a trial lasting six months, which was judged to be a major success. From now on, it will run from 07:00 to 19:00 for 365 days a year.
ECCH director of operations Adele Madin said: "We are delighted that, thanks to the CCG’s funding, we will be able to continue providing this service.
"With an ageing population who often feel socially isolated and may be living with long-term conditions, our physiotherapists and occupational therapists play an increasingly key role in helping people to get mobile again after a fall and maintain their independence at home."
The occupational therapists employed by NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney will not be the only ones in Norfolk and Suffolk to be able to offer more mobile support in rural areas.
Last month, occupational therapist Catherine Gray told the Diss Express how her practice, called Cup-O-T, was now able to carry out her aim to make services "accessible to as many people as possible" in areas with little public transport, after she received a grant from a charity that supports social entrepreneurs.
Written by Alex Franklin Stortford
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