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Long term focus reduces Cornish admissions

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Using community matrons to case manage A&E “frequent flyers” has helped a primary care trust significantly reduce emergency admissions at its hospitals. 

NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is one of just 15 PCTs that managed to cut emergency admissions to its acute providers between 2007-08 and 2008-09, according to data analysis by independent health intelligence provider CHKS, published exclusively in Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

The remaining PCTs recorded an average increase in emergency admissions of 5 per cent, prompting warnings that admissions increases at this rate are financially unsustainable for the NHS in the long term.

The PCT’s executive nurse Carol Williams, who is alsodirector of service improvement and professional practice, said frequent flyer case management was one of a range of recent initiatives targeted at patients with long term conditions, focusing particularly on self care. 

These include implemented exercise programmes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which have now been expanded to patients with neurological conditions. The PCT is also one of three national telehealth pilot schemes – involving patients with heart disease, diabetes and COPD – which Ms Williams said was “really helping push self care agenda forward”.

However, she said the success in reducing admissions was not down to any one particular initiative. “The whole is greater than the parts,” she told Nursing Times.

In 2008-09 the PCT reduced emergency admissions in 15 conditions – the majority for heart failure, hypertension and COPD – and data for the first six months of 2009-10 suggest a further significant reduction.

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