Emergency services in North Wales collaborated and launched a new initiative aimed at protecting people in their homes in August 2016.
The Community Assistance Team has now assisted over a hundred people since it was launched. The pilot is running in Denbighshire and Conwy in the form of a specialised team of staff working together to respond to vulnerable people who experience a fall in their home.
The aim of the initiative is to reduce the number of people who need to attend hospital as a result of a fall, thereby reducing the pressure and demands on ambulance and medical services.
The team consists of fully trained staff members, recruited from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service who are equipped to provide a service of excellence and an improved patient experience.
Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are extremely pleased with how this initiative is going and are glad that our team have been able to assist over a hundred people without having to call the ambulance out.
“The benefits of collaborative working with other emergency and public services are obvious, both in monetary savings and in respect of delivering improved services to our communities.
“By responding as a specialised team to non-injury falls in this way we hope to alleviate some of that pressure as well as provide a much improved service.”
Mark Timmins, the Welsh Ambulance Service's Tri-Service Collaboration Lead in North Wales, said: "The Community Assistance Team is a perfect example of how emergency services can work together to better patient care and community safety.
"Each of the patients are referred to our falls pathway if appropriate and the team have also been providing home safety and crime prevention checks."
The initiative is supported by Welsh Government in conjunction with the three emergency services, Denbighshire County Council, Conwy County Borough Council, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Galw Gofal / Care Connect, and North Wales Regional Call Monitoring Service.
The team members work a shift pattern covering known peak times between 7am - 3pm and 3pm - 11pm. They respond in a branded Community Assistance Team vehicle that is fully equipped with all of the necessary specialist equipment, including lifting devices so as to safely assist a person back to a seated position. The service is mobilised through Ambulance Service control, so the public do not need to do anything different than they would have done previously, however if it is appropriate the Community Assistance Team will be deployed instead of an ambulance.
This initiative and others has already been recognised at the All Wales Continuous Improvement Community Awards 2016 in the ‘Collaboration’ category that celebrated the success of the Tri Service Prevent and Respond Project Team.