The local NHS has introduced a new service called ‘SWIFT’ as part of a wider investment in ‘out of hospital’ services across south east Essex by NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG. The new SWIFT service will see a team of nurses and care assistants support people in their own homes.
The service is aimed at people who might be having a flare up of a long term condition or have an infection that isn’t getting better, which would usually result in a stay in hospital. This can now be safely avoided with the additional support that the SWIFT team can provide in people’s homes.
The new community team will visit patients within two-hours of receiving a referral from a GP practice, district nurse or community long-term conditions team and the ambulance team (EEAST) to stabilise their immediate health need.
Dr Amanda Pinkerton, local GP who has been involved in the design of the new service said: “This isn’t about not admitting people that need to be in hospital but about supporting GPs to keep people at home where appropriate and freeing up hospital services for those that really need them.”
Ryan Webb, Clinical Manager, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) who is part of the SWIFT team said: “The new SWIFT team operates seven days a week – 8am – 10pm. We have nurses and care assistants who can provide support and care at short notice at times of crisis. We are able to monitor patients in the community while providing the necessary medication, interventions and care to help them feel better. An experienced nurse will assess patient needs, develop a plan of care in conjunction with existing services and put these into place with the patient’s consent.”
Tricia D’Orsi, Chief Nurse, NHS Castle Point and Rochford and NHS Southend CCG said:
“The SWIFT service is a great example of how nursing is a modern and dynamic profession. The roles being fulfilled across south east Essex are so varied and the skills so vast to deliver high quality care and improve the patient experience.”
Prior to the launch, the service had already been trialled in a number of areas across south east Essex with really positive results.
Ryan Webb, Clinical Manager EPUT said: “One of the things GP practices have told us they like about the service is the support it offers to patients who may otherwise be admitted to hospital on a Friday afternoon/evening. Where there may be concerns that support is not available over the weekend, or GPs return on a Monday morning to discover the patient has called an ambulance over the weekend, the SWIFT team can now offer support to those patients in their own home.”
Jan, a local resident and member of Breathe Easy, Southend said: “When you’re at home you can rest more and recover quicker, there’s so much going on in a hospital. It’s silly to be admitted to a hospital bed if your care can be managed safely at home.”
The service is part of a wider investment in 'out-of-hospital' services. Other areas of investment include enhancement of the existing District Nursing night service and broader investment in planned and proactive care.
Lisa Ward, Lead Respiratory Nurse at Southend University Hospital said “For a patient with a longstanding respiratory condition the SWIFT team can mean the difference between being hospitalised for an exacerbation of COPD or being treated early and safely at home. I’m pleased to see the service launched after being involved in the planning and looking forward to seeing the benefits for our patients.
“The SWIFT team can see patients rapidly, assess them and formulate a management plan, which can be enough to maintain that patient comfortably at home with the support that they need. It’s reassuring for patients to get that early assessment, knowing that the team will keep a close eye on them and escalate their care to the hospital if that is what’s needed. ”