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An award for team & partnership working has been presented to the rapid response multi agency team, which is manage...
An award for team & partnership working has been presented to the rapid response multi agency team, which is managed by Hackney LBC, for their work in helping to avoid admissions to the Homerton Hospital where they are not needed, and also enabling discharge from the hospital with support back to the patient's own home. The award has been presented by the London Modernisation Board, recognising the key impact that the rapid response team has on Hackney's health services.

The focus of the team is to put the patients' needs first. The dedicated staff recognise that fear and vulnerability exist amongst patients who come into care and respond to alleviate any fears individuals may have.

The team's average response time is between two and four hours and includes an immediate assessment for all those who do not need a hospital admission from A & E. If appropriate, basic equipment can be supplied directly from stock and a technician can deal with minor adaptations, for example, the installation of safety rails, on the same day. The care package can be started within two hours and the shortest recorded time for installing a care package is 25 minutes.

The rapid response team's approach has proved particularly useful where users have become unwell or started to deteriorate at home. The risk of hospital admittance can be assessed and hopefully avoided taking into consideration the wishes and abilities and home circumstances of the individual concerned.

The team offers a 7-day service which means their work helps avoid unnecessary weekend delays in hospital and supports people in the community outside normal working hours when there is no clinical need for a hospital admission.

Penny Gardner, the team's leader who is employed by Hackney LBC, said: 'We're fairly unique as a team and work closely with colleagues in both health and social services, helping mostly older people. The existence of the Rapid Response Team helps not only individual patients but the health economy as a whole. If we can keep someone out of hospital who really only needs some additional support at home for a short time, with a flare up of a chronic condition or a broken arm, then that enables beds at Homerton Hospital to be available for people who are medically unwell.

'I am incredibly pleased that the work of the tem has been noticed, but I also recognise that without the support of colleagues in social services and health, it would inevitably be more difficult. The team has worked closely with other professionals to enable discharge from hospital when medically fit. This has assisted in minimising delayed discharges at Homerton University Hospital'.

Over the most recent winter months, the rapid response team have been at the hub of the partners' winter pressures responses making a significant contribution to the reduction in the number of delayed discharges.

Fran Pearson, chair of Hackney LBC's social services committee said: 'The rapid response team is a great example ofthe council working with the health service in Hackney, meeting the needs of patients in a modern, effective way. I am delighted that the very hard work done by the whole team has been recognised'.


1. The rapid response team is funded by Hackney LBC, Homerton Hospital NHS Trust and Hackney Primary Care Trust.

2. It has a core team of 20 occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and social care workers which rises in the winter to 40 staff.

3. The London Modernisation Awards are taking place on Wednesday 27th February 2002, at the Great Hall, St Bartholomew's Hospital.

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