Falls Response Service extended

Newport’s invaluable Falls Response Service, run by the Welsh Ambulance Service and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, is being extended for an additional three months.

The service, which has helped nearly 200 people back to their feet since October 2016, provides a swift response to emergency calls where older patients have suffered a fall and are either uninjured or have a minor injury. Falls Response team consists of a registered paramedic and a physiotherapist who travel in a specialist vehicle. On call outs the team will carry out full medical and social assessment and will signpost the immediate care pathway for the patient’s needs.

I recently visited the Falls Response Unit team with Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Social Care and Sport to meet the team and have a closer look at the work they do.

Since the scheme started, I’ve had a number of phone calls and emails praising the excellent work of the Falls Response Unit. It is fantastic news that this invaluable service has been extended.

This pilot scheme has done great work in responding to people’s needs while easing pressure on ambulance services. In fact since October 2016, 4 out of 5 patients were treated in their own home without any need for a hospital admission.

I was grateful to the Falls Response Unit staff for showing me and the Cabinet Secretary around. It gave a much better insight into the work being done, and it was important to hear about their experiences. This is collaboration at its best – it works for patients, staff and services.

Falls can present a very real and dangerous risk, but going to hospital is not always the best option. The Falls Response team responded to 229 calls in its first 11 weeks, out of which 183 were able to be treated at home.

The scheme is funded by the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund which aims to encourage closer integration between social services, health, housing and third and independent sector organisations.

I am a member of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee and we are constantly looking at examples of how health and social care services can work in partnership to ease pressures on our NHS. The Falls Response Service eases pressure on ambulance and healthcare services, while treating patients in their own home and providing follow up advice. I am glad that their work will be continuing until June.