Falls car in Fylde and Wyre to be scrapped from Friday

A health service launched in a bid to keep people out of hospital will be scrapped at the end of the month.

Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:13 pm
The falls car will be scrapped, it was revealed

The Fylde and Wyre falls vehicle will be axed because it only ran for 37 hours a week, faced increasing costs, and has been replaced by a more comprehensive falls service.

The decision to end the pilot, which launched in June 2015, was made by chiefs at a meeting, though they also expressed concern about the impact on patients’ safety and the emergency services.

A spokesman for Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The emergency falls vehicle was put in place as a temporary measure while the CCG conducted a review of the services available to patients who had fallen or at risk of falling.

“It ran for 37 hours a week, which meant it was unable to support all those at risk.

“In June 2016, a new service was launched which provides patients with a full falls assessment of their home and also, where appropriate, a further falls management programme that is run both in groups and in a community setting or in the home.

“We are delighted at the success to date of the new falls service, which has the potential to see almost 1,700 patients every year once at full capacity, and operates seven days a week.”

The falls car, manned by a paramedic and rapid response physiotherapist, was launched for an initial six-month pilot and was later extended. Assessing and treating patients who had fallen in a bid to keep them out of hospital and to prevent further falls, it has helped 1,279 people to date.

Pricing changes mean costs for the service would have rocketed by £40,474 to around £160,000 had it continued.

“The committee discussed the risks of decommissioning the service, which included a potential delay in lifting a patient who has fallen,” documents added.

“It was noted that, although there may be a risk of delay, those patients would only benefit from the falls car during the 37 hours per week that it operates.

“The possibility of ambulances being diverted away from red response calls to attend a patient who has fallen was also noted as a risk.”

No jobs will be lost, with staff returning to work with the ambulance service or hospital trust.

The CCG will also axe its portion of funding for the Night Safe Haven, a bus that offers revellers mobile treatment and a safe place during nights out.

It opened on weekends through December, and was marketed as a place to get medical advice or help, including for those who had drunk too much, taken drugs, got into a fight, or lost their friends, and saw sex health advice doled out alongside free water, condoms, slippers, tin foil blankets, and rain ponchos.

But documents revealed a fall in people using the service 2016. Blackpool CCG will continue to fund the service, which will now be reviewed.

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