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Growing approval for adult care model

Birmingham Community Healthcare's innovative single point of access (SPA) to citywide adults and community services marked its first anniversary this autumn with evidence growing that, as GPs and other referrers become more familiar with the system, patients are seeing real benefits to their care.

Our urgent care bureau, accessed through the SPA phone number 0300 555 1919, has handled more than 15,000 calls since April.

In order to build on this success, we continue to engage with GPs and other referrers such as West Midlands Ambulance Service and Birmingham City Council's social care services in order to address the continuing objective of preventing unnecessary admissions to acute hospitals.

There are now 43 integrated multidisciplinary teams (IMTs) in Birmingham, each incorporating district nurses, case management, domiciliary physiotherapy, occupational therapy and community rehabilitation.

Managed through an integrated telephone service for urgent- and non-urgent referrals, the model is designed to prevent avoidable hospital admissions by delivering high quality, flexible healthcare in the community.

A bed bureau service for all Birmingham acute hospitals is also now provided through the SPA, with alternatives to admission being offered across the city where appropriate. And a team within the SPA now also co-ordinates alerts generated from the growing telemonitoring service for patients with long-term conditions.

In a recent survey of 70 rapid response service patients, every respondent said they were treated in the most appropriate place to meet their needs and wishes.

Nearly all felt the initial response had been sufficiently prompt and just over two thirds felt they would have needed hospital admission had it not been for the rapid response team.

Over half rated their experience ‘excellent’, with the remainder judging it ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

A recent survey of Birmingham GPs revealed high levels of satisfaction with the single point of access with the overwhelming majority judging it highly efficient and resulting in patients receiving the most appropriate care in the most appropriate place.

Single point of access manager Emma Edgington said: “We’ve come a very long way since the SPA was launched.

“It’s been a very complex exercise - setting up the telephone service at Moseley Hall, engaging with our acute hospital partners, GPs and others to listen and explain why we believed in this model, and consulting with our own nursing and therapy teams to standardise a delivery model across the city."

To refer adult patients to Birmingham Community Healthcare's community services (bed bureau, rapid response service and integrated multidisciplinary teams) call 0300 555 1919.