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NHS Grampian launches new drive to deliver health care at home in Operation Home 1st​

By Lorna Thompson

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NHS Grampian is today launching the next phase in its coronavirus response – focusing on delivering more health care to people at home.

Operation Home 1st is a partnership between all three of the region’s health and social care partnerships (HSCPs) and NHS Grampian’s Acute Services.

The approach will see more staff getting out into the community to deliver services that would traditionally be delivered in a hospital setting.

Most critical community health and social care services have continued, albeit it in new and different ways, throughout the initial response to the pandemic. Staff have had to adapt quickly to the demands that Covid-19 placed upon them.

NHS Grampian says Operation Home 1st has been developed to build on what has been learned across the health and social care system to ensure there is a robust plan in place to deal with any future surge or demand on services.

Operation Home 1st is being overseen by a steering group made up of the chief officers of all three HSCPs, the chief executives of all three Grampian local authorities and the chief executive of NHS Grampian.

Together they have developed, in consultation with the chairs and vice-chairs of the three Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) a set of principles, which include: adopting a principle of "home first" for all care; maximising digital solutions; and to look at the whole person, their circumstances and supports when deciding on whether hospital is required.

Elgin's Dr Gray's Hospital. Picture: Eric Cormack.
Elgin's Dr Gray's Hospital. Picture: Eric Cormack.

Fiona Francey, chief officer for Acute Services at NHS Grampian, said: "We know that people, especially older populations, remain fitter and healthier the longer they remain at home and that outcomes for many people following a stay, even a short one, in hospital can be negatively impacted.

"So it makes sense that we try to provide more services in people’s homes and communities – which is what people tell us they would prefer to a hospital admission.

"Operation Home 1st will see a big change to the way we in the acute sector work, with more of us getting out into the community to deliver services that would traditionally be delivered in a hospital setting.

"I believe that this will have a hugely positive impact on how we work with our colleagues in primary and social care and will lead to better outcomes for patients.

"It will be a challenge, but I am sure that by working across both health and social care, we are more than able to achieve it."

The plan will also see a further roll-out of digital solutions to support healthcare, such as NHS Near Me, which has been the key to continuing with many appointments and consultations throughout Covid-19.

The Operation Home 1st steering group has developed a digital community newsletter, which anyone can sign up to using the link http://eepurl.com/g8dOvH. Each edition will have updates for each area and includes a short survey.

More stories here.

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