A pioneering new programme aimed at reducing pressures on the NHS has received more than £700,000 in funding from West Sussex County Council.
The Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has been allocated £787,411 of funding to deliver a programme of work to reduce the risk of falls.
The funding comes as part of a £3.3million government grant, ring-fenced to help ease winter pressures on adult social care and health services.
Falls and fractures are a major health issue faced by older people in West Sussex. They can cause severe distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence, and in some cases can even lead to death.
Falls health services are experiencing significant increases in demand and falls are one of the main reasons for admission to care and nursing homes.
In West Sussex there were 4,495 emergency hospital admissions for falls related injuries in 2016/17.
Hip fractures are a common and serious injury resulting from a fall and significantly reduce independence and increase the risk of mortality. There were 1,240 admissions for hip fractures in West Sussex in 2016/17 with an estimated cost of over £20million.
The programme will see a new ‘falls champion’ in each local care co-ordination network in the county, known as Local Community Networks or Communities of Practice. The champion will carry out early falls assessments and provide advice on prevention, appropriate services and equipment. They can also offer home hazard assessments for patients who have been discharged from hospital following a fall-related admission.
Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for adults and health, said: “Having a fall can not only cause lasting physical damage, but also really knock your confidence.
“I am delighted that we have been able to secure this funding to enable Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to deliver this new programme of work, which will hopefully help people maintain their independence and prevent the need for urgent hospital care.”
Trust chief executive Siobhan Melia said: “This investment is excellent news for the people of West Sussex.
“We are excited about the positive impact we can have in reducing the number of falls and the harm they cause.
“Keeping people healthy and out of hospital will also make sure the local NHS can manage during the busy winter months.”
In order to deliver this programme, West Sussex County Council’s public health team has worked closely with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, the South East Coast Ambulance Service, the Coastal West Sussex, Crawley, and Horsham & Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Services, the Independent Living Service, and district and borough Wellbeing Hubs.