How we’re supporting urgent care services this autumn and winter

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Urgent and emergency care services have faced immense pressure once again over the last few months. As temperatures rose this past summer, demand for services increased. Indeed, this June was the busiest ever for A&E attendances. While the second highest number of category 1 ambulance incidents were recorded for any June this year.

At a time when one would expect to see a reduction in pressure, we saw the opposite. Despite this, teams worked tirelessly to meet demand. There were improvements in ambulance response times on last year and 18-month waits were down to 7,363 as of July. Now, with little time to catch breath after what many would call another ‘winter in summer’, teams brace for a period that is anticipated to be challenging once more.

How Livi is responding

To play our part as a digital healthcare provider, Livi will be onhand and ready to support urgent care partners when needed. Our urgent care service will be available throughout the entire week, including in and out of hours, this autumn and winter period to meet extra demand.

These services are designed to reduce front-door demand and can also be integrated with NHS 111 to decrease local support required. The aim is to reduce strain on both urgent care centres and A&E, by extending access and ensuring appropriate signposting and use of services.

We’ll provide extra clinical capacity to help manage cases from emergency departments that can be seen remotely. This includes assisting clinical assessment centres by building optimal pathways between urgent and primary care.

As an example of the impact we can make for partners, Livi helped one trust prevent 5000 emergency department attendances, protected over 1000 clinical hours and exceeded consult and complete target by 12% in just five months during winter of last year.

Supporting the system

Of course, out-of-hospital services will also be integral to managing winter pressures, both in helping to ensure correct utilisation of urgent and emergency care, and so that people who are able to leave hospital can safely do so, and stay well.

To provide support in that regard, Livi is working with practices, PCNs and ICSs, providing digital clinical capacity as an extension of the primary care team. Support can be targeted, reprioritised and reallocated quickly based on surge demand around a given footprint, providing same-day access to patients who may otherwise end up in A&E or contact NHS 111. While we also provide patient-initiated access to primary care via the Livi app.

Delivering the right care at the right time

Alongside this, we believe patient communication is so important. That’s why we’re equipping the health system with a range of tools and technology. To support roll-out of flu vaccinations and covid boosters, the uptake of which will be key to tackling the winter ahead, our Mjog practice platform is helping practices launch campaigns via smart messaging.

Additionally, we are also enhancing GP practice websites to NHS Digital Service Manual standards. NHS England’s Winter Plan for GP practices, PCNs and ICSs rightly identifies websites as a key priority to ensuring patients can easily find what they need during this period. And that is exactly what we’re working towards, supporting partners via a best practice website platform, built to NHS guidelines that can signpost to services in the community, and provide essential patient information.

The goal with this, as with all of our solutions, is to help ensure the right care at the right time, and ease pressure on those working tirelessly on the front line to deliver it. As we head into winter, achieving that goal will be more important than ever, not just for urgent care, but in helping to ensure the future sustainability of the health system.

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Read our key takeaways from The NHS Winter Plan .