Health and care organisations in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are putting in place initiatives to ensure that people can access the services they need heading into winter, and to support staff and teams working in frontline services to deliver safe and effective care.
Building on long-standing integrated health and care services, hospital, urgent care and community health providers are working closely with local government and the voluntary sector to support people throughout their care, with a focus on meeting increased demand on all services across the winter months.
James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is working in collaboration with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to help its clinical teams provide urgent and emergency care, and to support the flow of patients through the hospital and into the most appropriate place for their care.
The hospital is installing an External Ambulance Area adjacent to the ambulance drop-off, which will support effective and rapid handover of patients from ambulances into the care of the hospital, meaning more vehicles and crews are available to attend emergencies in Norfolk and Waveney.
Tom Abell, Chief Executive at EEAST said: “The introduction of an Ambulance Handover Unit at James Paget University Hospital will release more vehicles and crews for responding to emergencies. It will also help us to meet the challenges of the coming winter months, when we know demand will increase.
“When people call 999 the public expect the ambulance service to attend, units like this will help make sure that we can.”
The James Paget is also increasing the capacity of clinical services to meet the needs of patients coming into the hospital. The Trust’s Surgical Assessment Unit, launched in February 2022, has expanded to a seven-day operating model, enabling more rapid assessment and treatment for people requiring surgery through a dedicated team, and working proactively with local GPs to reduce unnecessary admissions where possible.
The hospital has increased investment in the on-site GP Streaming service, working with the North Norfolk Primary Care GP Provider organisation to bring in a second clinician. This service has effectively supported on average 46 patients per day, who would otherwise attend the Emergency Department.
The James Paget is also opening up 11 additional beds at Carlton Court, a shared NHS facility based in Carlton Colville in Suffolk, in addition to the 22 beds it has had operating at this site since May 2022, to support patient care locally. This ward will be used as a facility for patients who have been deemed fit to be able to be cared for in their own home, but due to the care required, are currently unable to go home.
Jo Segasby, Chief Executive at the James Paget, said: “The amount of patients requiring urgent and emergency care coming into our hospital has increased. Our focus as a hospital is to ensure we have inpatient beds available for people who require admission; we are working as a local health and care system to ensure people are able to access the care they need – and can get back home to recover as soon as possible.”
The James Paget is working closely with East Coast Community Healthcare CIC (ECCH), and Adult Social Care teams at Norfolk County Council and Suffolk County Council, to ensure that patients have appropriate support packages in place for when they are discharged back to their own home or care setting. ECCH have opened additional beds at Beccles hospital and, in partnership with Norfolk and Waveney’s Integrated Care Board and the County Councils, are using extra beds in local care homes so that patients can move out of the James Paget when they well enough to do so.
ECCH has four Primary Care Home (PCH) teams which support GP practices across Great Yarmouth and the northern villages, Gorleston, Lowestoft and South Waveney. They are multi-disciplinary teams of nurses and therapists who treat patients in their own homes, supporting the safe discharge of patients from hospital, as well as reducing admissions.
Adele Madin, Director of Operations at ECCH, said: “We know that people recover best in their own homes and our PCH teams have been very successful at helping thousands of people to do that in recent years. We have created additional capacity in our teams ahead of winter specifically to support people who have fallen and need assistance, with the aim of avoiding the use of an ambulance and caring for people at home where it is safe to do so.”
Providing coordinated support for people over the age of 65, who may have long-term health conditions, and are being discharged from hospital will be bolstered by the Health Connect service in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, which will provide wrap-around support for individuals with the aim of preventing readmission to hospital where this can be avoided.
Health Connect colleagues, known as ‘Connectors,’ will work alongside James Paget University Hospital and East Coast Community Healthcare to identify what equipment or resources people may need to self-manage their health, and link with the wide range of local services that can support them to live well at home.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Community Hub Team and East Suffolk Council’s Community Intervention Teams provide guidance and enable people to access the support they need across Great Yarmouth and Waveney, ensuring that the needs of communities are reflected in how health and care services work effectively.
The ‘Be at Home’ service in Great Yarmouth and Waveney provides home adaptation to people at risk of falls or hospital admission, as well as short-term community alarm and key safe packs for people who have recently been discharged from hospital.
Communities in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are encouraged to help frontline health and care by choosing the right services for their needs. If you have an urgent but not life-threatening medical need, or you’re not sure whether to go to your GP or local pharmacy, contact NHS 111 first. If you do need urgent care, then NHS 111 can book you in to be seen quickly and safely in A&E.
More information on protecting your health and keeping Warm and Well over winter can be found here: https://improvinglivesnw.org.uk/our-work/our-campaigns/warm-and-well/