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Pensioners to get "personal trainers" on NHS
PENSIONERS and other vulnerable patients are to be given “personal trainers” on the NHS to encourage them to live healthier lifestyles as part of a campaign to cut pressure on hard-pressed hospital A & E departments.
The elderly – and others at risk of long-term illness – will be among the first to benefit from a major scheme to allow them to be cared for at home rather than a clinical setting.
A number of projects have been unveiled to support patients in the Scarborough and Ryedale by the NHS local decision-making body Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The aim is to prevent elderly patients and people with health conditions, such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart problems, ending up in hospital, by treating them in the community.
One strategy will be to recruit health trainers to target a range of people - particularly hard-to-reach and disadvantaged patients - that either have long-term conditions or are at risk of developing them.
The trainers will provide them with one-to-one mentoring to help them improve their personal fitness and point them towards making long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
Those taking part in the sessions will also be referred to a range of services provided by Scarborough and North Yorkshire Councils, as well as the NHS and voluntary sector.
Another tactic will be for teams of NHS staff with different skills to work closely with social workers to ensure a joint approach in delivering services and avoid wasteful duplication.
Out-of-hours appointments with GPs, encouraging take-up of places in local care homes, and a hotline to call handlers trained to provide detailed advice, would also reduce pressure on casualty staff. Many patients could also be taught to self-medicate.
CCG Chairman Dr Phil Garnetts described the plans as “a really positive step forward for patient care in the area”.
He said: “It’s important, now more than ever, that we look at how we can better support patients in the community and avoid the risk of them needing hospital treatment – particularly as the number of elderly people living in the area is on the rise and in light of the pressures on our A&E departments.
“Our ageing population, which will see the number of over-65s increase by 30 per cent by 2021, will bring real challenges for NHS and social-care organisations as demand for services increases.”
Clare Wood, the county councillor in charge of health services, said: “These programmes aim to reduce duplication and provide more streamlined and co-ordinated health and social care which is designed around people’s needs.”
For more information go to www.scarboroughryedaleccg.nhs.uk
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