There is more scope for saving money by keeping older people on their feet and in their own homes in the Western Trust than in any other health authority in the North.
That’s according to the Northern Ireland Audit Office’s evaluation of the Transforming Your Care health reform road map.
The audit found great scope for achieving cost savings and efficiencies by encouraging independence among older people and avoiding unnecessary hospitalisations. Focusing on actual performance of trusts across the North in the six month period from April 2014 to October 2014 it was estimated that the potential for further savings if more patients were ‘reabled’ and kept out of hospital would have been £5m for 2014/15.
Mr. Donnelly’s team found that the largest scope for savings by keeping people vertical and in their own homes was in the Western Trust.
“The opportunities for further savings/cost avoidance are greatest in Southern and Western Trusts (representing 78 per cent of the opportunity) through full roll-out of the service. This is an objective to which both Trusts are committed; however, it should be acknowledged the phasing/pace of roll-out will be influenced by other competing service demands,” the report said.
Other examples of positive change in the Trust included a new ‘Memory Assessment Clinic’ for dementia sufferers, which resulted in a team comprising a nurse, social worker, psychiatrist, geriatrician and a number of psychologists awarded ‘Team of the Year’ in the 2012 Northern Ireland Dementia Excellence Awards. The Altnagelvin Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention was also cited as “a good example of a modern, responsive, 24-hour, seven day a week service that provides the right care in the right place at the right time”.