Two-hour crisis response services coming for all care homes

Blog by Ann Mackay MBE, Director of Policy, Care England (29 July 2021)

In recent weeks we have set out our new vision We Care for England which calls on the Government to deliver a more co-ordinate health and care system, focused around the person.

So it’s welcome news that national guidance has just been issued to ensure that from April next year anyone over the age of 18 will have access to crisis response care within two hours in their place of residence if there is a sudden deterioration in their health and wellbeing.

This is the first time a waiting time standard has been set and all Integrated Care Systems, which are being put on a statutory footing from April 2022, will need to meet a set of minimum requirements.

In addition to the two-hour response time, they will need to provide services 8am-8pm, 7 days a week and accept referrals from all appropriate sources.

There is a strong focus in the guidance on ensuring that crisis response services provide personalised and holistic care, co-ordinated through a single point of access and aligned to other urgent care services, such as NHS11 and GP out of hours.

Data on the performance of these services will also need to be reported back nationally which demonstrates the serious intent that is characterising the current drive to develop community health services.

This will help to provide a national picture on where crisis responses services are operating most effectively and support local conversations about how performance can be improved.

We’ll be talking with NHS England over the coming months on how independent care providers can give feedback on and effectively link with community response services.

We’re also looking to further understand how crisis response will work alongside the Enhanced Health in Care Homes programme and support care home referrals.

The national guidance provides practical support and information to help services to mature but service models will be locally driven and you may wish to connect with your local health services.  

Overall, we feel this is a positive development which should benefit care home residents and providers and we’ll keep you up to speed as our talks continue nationally.

Visit www.england.nhs.uk to find out more.