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A pioneering new scheme involving Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, City Health Care Partnership CIC (CHCP CIC), Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Humber NHS Foundation Trust working together to provide a rapid 24/7 response for falls patients in Hull is being launched this Autumn.

Hull FIRST (Falls Intervention Response Safety Team) is part of the Hull 2020 transformation programme which has nine public services working together for a healthier, safer city. NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting a six month pilot which is unique in its approach to responding to people in need.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) will provide the initial clinical triage for calls via 999 and NHS 111 where a patient has fallen. Clinical advisors working in the YAS Clinical Hub, which is run from its Emergency Operations Centre, will provide a robust clinical assessment to ensure patients are provided with the most appropriate care for their needs. Where appropriate, the multi-skilled falls response service, involving fire officers and emergency care practitioners (ECPs), will then aim to support non-emergency patients within one hour.

The British Geriatric Society estimates that around 30% of people age 65+ and 40% of people age 75+ who are living at home fall each year. In Hull 1,016 people aged 65+ were admitted to hospital with injuries due to their fall last year. While most falls do not result in a serious injury, a fear of falling can reduce confidence, independence and social contact.

Hull FIRST’s holistic approach to patient care involves Humberside Fire and Rescue officers following through from picking people up safely, to quickly assessing their needs and, in partnership with the Hull Falls Prevention team, resolving any instant problems that might have caused the fall.

City Health Care Partnership CIC has provided the clinical input of the ECPs and has trained the ten fire officers involved in the Hull FIRST pilot. If a clinical assessment or medical treatment is needed as a result of the fall this will be provided by ECPs or ambulance clinicians on scene to help avoid an unnecessary transfer to hospital.

The Humber NHS Foundation Trust Falls Prevention Team works closely with the Hull FIRST team and will continue to support patients once they are safe and stable, providing holistic falls and fragility fracture risk assessments in the home which could include occupational therapy, physiotherapy and fracture liaison nurses.

Safety equipment in the home is provided through the joint Hull City Council and Hull CCG Better Care in Hull programme.

Chris Blacksell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“The firefighters that have volunteered to take part in the pilot bring with them a vast amount of experience in casualty care, accident prevention in the home and community engagement, particularly with older people. We have had a great response so far from the public and I am genuinely excited by what we can achieve as a Fire and Rescue Service when we work with partners to make our communities safer.“

Emma Latimer, CCG Chief Officer and Hull 2020 Programme Sponsor said:

“The development of the new Hull FIRST Rapid Response Services is an opportunity to do things differently pooling the expert resources we already have in Hull. This project is unique in providing such a diverse range of health and wellbeing support and other areas are looking with interest to see how the Hull FIRST pilot performs.”

Stanley Fieldhouse (88) from East Hull, who is in the care of Humber NHS FT’s Falls Prevention Team, was one of the first people to be visited by the new Hull FIRST Team. Stanley was grateful for the exceptional level of care he has received:

“The Fire Service has been fantastic. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done. Getting me downstairs was the best thing that’s happened. I’ve kept my independence and got some confidence back. The Falls Team has also been round a few times to check that I’m doing my exercises. It’s just brilliant.”

Carol Waudby, Care Group Director at CHCP CIC, said:

“We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the FIRST team and we are looking forward to developing more partnership opportunities like this as part of Hull 2020, improving the lives of people in the city.”

Dr Steven Dykes, Deputy Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“This is a great example of a number of organisations working together effectively and using the skills of their staff to benefit residents in the local area by providing the most appropriate care for their needs. The pilot is a good opportunity to explore how we can further develop partnership initiatives with our NHS and emergency service colleagues.”

Julia Petty, Service Manager, Humber NHS Foundation Trust said:

“It’s particularly reassuring to know that if our patients experience a fall, they will now receive the medical care they need in a timely manner. We do a great deal of work to prevent falls by raising awareness of the different risk factors that can cause a fall and we support patients after a fall but the rapid response service is a unique offering that compliments this. We are really pleased that our Falls service clinical skills and experience were utilised in the design of the service.”

Background information
• The nine public service organisations that make up Hull 2020 are committed to transforming the way they all work to enable the people of Hull to improve their own health and wellbeing and to achieve their aspirations for the future.
• The Hull 2020 programme is led and delivered by: NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Hull City Council, City Health Care Partnership CIC, Healthwatch Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Humberside Police and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.