People across the Rochdale borough will now benefit from improved health and social care services following a £7.2m joint investment by NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) and Rochdale Borough Council into a new service that aims to cut down the time people spend in hospital.

The main aim of the new ‘Intermediate Care Tier Service’, which launched last week, is to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital and ensure that people can leave hospital more quickly by making care more easily available in the community and people’s homes.

The new 24/7 service is provided by over 200 staff from a variety of health and social care organisations and includes access to integrated health and social care designed around the needs of the individual.

The service, which has been jointly commissioned and funded by NHS HMR CCG and Rochdale Borough Council, is available to people over the age of 18 who are at risk of being admitted to hospital and those with continued care needs who are medically fit to be discharged from hospital. It is anticipated that the majority of patients will be elderly.

People can be referred to the new service via local health and care professionals including local GPs, nursing and care homes, local hospitals and community health care providers.  Treatment and care is provided either in the home, a community setting or at one of two specially commissioned enhanced bed units – Tudor Court in Heywood and a newly established Wolstenholme Unit at Rochdale Infirmary.

Providing support and care from GPs, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social and support workers and pharmacy technicians, these units enable people to avoid hospital and access more intensive treatment closer to home, with the aim of reducing lengths of stay and enabling faster recovery and discharge. They can also be accessed by patients who have been treated in hospital but still require nursing or therapy to maintain rehabilitation or recovery.

The service is provided by a joint venture between Age UK Metro Rochdale (Age UK), BARDOC (Bury and Rochdale Doctors on Call), Big Life Group, GP Care Services Limited, The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Pennine Care Foundation Trust and Rochdale Borough Council. 

Dr Lynn Hampson, NHS HMR CCG Clinical Lead, said, “We’re excited to be working with Rochdale Borough Council, The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and other partner organisations in the provision of the Intermediate Tier Service.

“This jointly commissioned and provided service is designed to keep people at home and avoid hospital admissions, allowing local residents to benefit from more easily accessible home and community base care.”

Councillor Iftikhar Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Adult Care at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Hospital care is very important, but it should only be used when completely necessary. For some people, particularly people with dementia who need to be in familiar surroundings, time spent in hospital can actually lead to a deterioration in their condition.

“This new service will make our residents’ lives easier by ensuring that the medical and social care expertise they need is on hand in their homes and communities, so that hospitals are only used as a last resort.”

Dr Shona McCallam, clinical director at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Rochdale Infirmary and community services, said: “This is an exciting and innovative integrated model which will be able to support more people to regain independent living, through a period of short term care, in either their own homes or in one of the intermediate care beds. This can be either as a step up from community based services or as a step down from hospital or urgent care.

“The service will provide a flexible, accessible and responsive time-limited multi-disciplinary service, focused on a truly integrated health and social care model of rehabilitation and re-ablement where this is achievable.” 

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