Changes to a home care service for NHS patients to be changed ’out of recognition’

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Members of a medical support team which cares for patients in their own homes has hit out at plans to reform the service.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare has announced plans to combine the Call For Care and Intensive Home Support Service and create a new Urgent Care model.

Mansfield and Ashfield IHS (Intensive Home Support) has been covering Mansfield and Ashfield for almost 20 years, preventing hospital admissions and facilitating early discharge.

Concerns have been raised that Mansfield and Ashfield IHS is to be changed ‘beyond recognition’ and that cuts could mean a reduction in care for patients and impact on bed blocking which has proved such a problem in recent years at hospitals.

Worried medical staff have set up a Facebook page Save IHS - Mansfield & Ashfield to alert patients to forthcoming changes which could potentially change their lives.

Mansfield and Ashfield IHS can currently provide medical support and assessment, rehabilitation, end of life care and an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT) giving IV antibiotics in people’s homes.

The team includes Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Band 5 Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Therapy Assistants, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Work staff - a team of more than 40 professionals.

A statement from the team on the Facebook page states: “We recently entered a consultation period with higher management where we were told that our team is to change beyond recognition and the management are not listening to our concerns about this.

“We are expected to reduce the service provision for each patient to a two week maximum whilst also reducing our staffing by ten nurses.

“In addition to this reduction in staff we have also been informed that the area we cover is to be increased to include Newark and Sherwood (an addition of approximately 200 square miles).

“Our team response to higher management raised many concerns regarding how we could safely continue to provide the standards of care that we are currently able to.

These concerns have not been answered.”

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Healthcare said:

“Nottinghamshire Healthcare is working in collaboration with Mid Nottinghamshire CCGs to redesign a range of community based services across Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood.

This is in response to a number of challenges faced across the system.

“One of these schemes that we have reviewed is to combine the Call For Care and Intensive Home Support Service and create a new Urgent Care model.

“The new Urgent Care service will continue to offer a hospital at home pathway, managing patients for 72 hours in order to stabilise their clinical condition before they enter an intense rehabilitation pathway.

“The team will work intensively with the patient over a two week period prior to transferring the patient into our community therapy service or externally into a re-ablement service.

“The overall aim of this pathway is to wherever possible care for patients within their own home and to maximise their recovery and independence.

The statement adds: “We have recently concluded a period of formal staff consultation and have received two counter proposals, which were discussed at length after the consultation closed.

“All staff directly and indirectly affected by the changes continue to receive ongoing support and the offer of employment opportunities in other areas of the Trust.

“We are aware that some of our staff have concerns and anxieties in relation to the new service, but we are meeting with them individually and collectively to address those.”

“We have recently concluded a period of formal staff consultation and have received two counter proposals, which were discussed at length after the consultation closed.

“All staff directly and indirectly affected by the changes continue to receive ongoing support and the offer of employment opportunities in other areas of the Trust.

“We are aware that some of our staff have concerns and anxieties in relation to the new service, but we are meeting with them individually and collectively to address those.”