HEALTH and social care teams will try to reduce the number of hospital admissions in two new pilot schemes.
People more likely to be taken to hospital — such as the elderly or those with long-term conditions — will be identified by Integrated Neighbourhood Teams (INTs) in Bolton.
The pilot schemes are a joint project between Bolton Council, the Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust as part of the new “integrated” health care system.
Council chiefs say there are more than 44,000 people aged 65 and over in Bolton, and more than 13,000 of these are at risk of developing future health and social care needs.
Predictions show about 3,500 people stand a 50 per cent chance of being admitted to hospital within the next year — six and a half times more likely than the average-age resident.
This group of people tend to be elderly or live with a long-term condition such as diabetes.
A further 11,000 people aged 65 and over have a 20 per cent likelihood of being admitted to hospital.
The first phase of INTs will be introduced in two GP practices in Westhoughton and will involve community nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses and GPs. Their work will focus on residents with a 50 per cent likelihood of hospital admission.
The roll-out of the second scheme, the Staying Well project, will focus on those residents with a 20 per cent chance of being admitted to hospital. The Staying Well team will help people look after themselves in their own home.
The latest pilots fall under the larger integrated care plans, which will see hospital resources shifted into the community to cope with the growing demands of an ageing population.
Cllr Linda Thomas, deputy leader of Bolton Council, said: “With a growing, ageing population and increased pressure on resources, we have to think differently about the way we deliver health and social care.
“By identifying people in the community and offering early intervention and lifestyle enhancements, we will hopefully reduce the number of people who may develop an eligible need in the future and relieve pressure on our health and social care system.”
Both teams should be up and running by September.
The Royal Bolton Hospital is bidding to be one of five in Greater Manchester to become “super hospitals”, which bosses say would lead to an investment in A&E, as well as maternity, children and obstetrics.
The Bolton News has launched the Better Health For Bolton campaign to press for the hospital to be chosen.