British Red Cross
Posted: 19th July 2019

The British Red Cross has been awarded a grant of £84,460 to fund a project  that will help to reduce unnecessary emergency calls and hospital admissions. This grant will fund the Pathways to Better Health service.

Red Cross identifies frequent emergency department users

The service will help older people in Conwy and Denbighshire who have been identified as frequent hospital attendees or callers to the emergency services. The project will help people who call 999 or go to emergency departments (ED) more than 12 times a year.

Supporting vulnerable people

Many frequent emergency department users are extremely vulnerable with few alternative sources of help. They may have complex needs including loneliness, social isolation or drug and alcohol issues.

Pathways to Better Health

Red Cross staff will work in partnership with emergency services and ED teams to find people who could benefit. The team will then work with people to identify the root causes of their frequent attendance, and help them to develop coping strategies.

By providing emotional and practical support, building confidence, and signposting to other local services that could help; the team will aim to increase a person’s health and well-being, independence and resilience.

This will reduce the number of calls to the emergency services and visits to the NHS; save money, free up resources and improve the lives of those supported by the project.

Pilot project gives promising results

In November 2017 the Red Cross launched a pilot project covering the Western Bay area in Wales. This included Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.

The pilot supported 22 people for 16 weeks, and yielded some very promising results.

96 per cent of people reported a positive change in emotional health; 70 per cent a positive change in physical health; and 69 per cent felt less lonely and isolated. There was also a huge reduction in 999 calls and hospital visits amongst those supported.

North Wales freemasons visit the Red Cross First Aid Training Centre in Abergele

Stanislava Sofrenic, Independent Living Operations Manager for Red Cross Wales said: “We are thrilled to have launched this scheme in North Wales.

“I’d like to thank North Wales Freemasons for their generous donation, which has allowed us to set up this invaluable scheme. Our smaller pilot project in Swansea demonstrated that early intervention with people who use NHS and emergency services frequently has a significant impact both on improving their lives and reducing pressures on NHS and emergency services’ resources.

“We look forward to working with our partners over the next 12 months and helping people across Conwy and Denbighshire.”

John Hoult from North Wales Freemasons said: “We’re very pleased to support the fantastic work being done by the British Red Cross in North Wales. This will have a huge impact on users of the emergency services”

Mark Isherwood, AM for North Wales said: “The Pathways to Better Health Service is an outstanding example of collaborative working between the emergency services, hospitals and the British Red Cross to identify and support some of the most vulnerable members of the community. Innovative projects like this will help us to identify and tackle issues at the earliest possible stage; rather than seeing individuals turn to the emergency services as a last resort.”