LIVES launches first ‘home visit’ scheme - Pioneering project will ease pressure on county’s ambulances and hospitals

LIVES chairman Dr Sagar EMN-150303-083307001
LIVES chairman Dr Sagar EMN-150303-083307001

LIVES is launching a pioneering scheme which will see them train volunteers to visit people who have suffered falls in their own homes.

The dramatic development - designed to ease the pressure on hospitals and ambulance crews - was revealed in an exclusive interview with LIVES chairman Doctor Alan Sagar.

LIVES currently focus on their first responder service, which plays a vital role across the county. Volunteer responders, medics and doctors from the Horncastle-based charity attend more than 1,400 emergencies a month.

However, the home visits are an entirely new development and LIVES will be the first organisation of its kind in the country to set up a home visit scheme.

Dr Sagar said: “We are going to train people to visit people at home who have suffered falls. It’s a new development within LIVES but we have always been at the forefront of immediate medical care in this country. Hopefully, it will stop some of the unnecessary pressure that is being put on A&E departments.

“We will send out responders to see what peoples’ needs are. Often, they don’t need to go to hospital and don’t need an ambulance.

“We can alert the appropriate people like Social Services.

“It’s going to save a lot of work for A&E departments and the ambulance service.”

The scheme comes when intense scrutiny is being placed on hospitals and ambulance services.

Only this week, Victoria Atkins - the Conservatives’ Prospective Parliamentary for Louth and Horncastle - said she had grave concerns about the lack of ambulance cover in the county.

The LIVES initiative follows claims by a county councillor who described the current state of home care services as a “national scandal.”

Although Lincolnshire County Council has hit back at Coun Colin Mair’s claims, they are looking to reorganise home care services.

Dr Sagar, one of the pioneers behind LIVES since formation in the late 1980s, stressed they were keen not to interfere with the work already being carried out by other organisations.

However, he said the home visit idea was another example of how LIVES could help over-stretched services.

He said: “We have pioneered lots of other things.

“We are already working with the fire brigade - and other emergency response teams - to provide the best local service.

“We have been at the forefront of change in immediate care in Great Britain

“We started the First Responders scheme in Lincolnshire. We had to use £200,000 of our money to establish it.

“I am very proud of all our achievements.

“We have volunteers making a real difference and helping the statutory services like EMAS reach targets.”

LIVES recently revealed they needed £1.1m to cover operating costs over the next year. The vast majority of the money (£800,000-plus) comes from donations.

Dr Sagar added: “There will always be a place for LIVES.

“As we develop, other areas of the country will follow.

“I am proud of what we do - and what we’ve achieved. We set the standard and have shown what can be achieved by using volunteers in a well organised environment.

“We will continue to fill a niche that needs filling.

“We have come a long way but there is room to grow to improve and what we offer local communities.

“We play a vital role in pre-hospital care. It’s been said that we make a substantial difference to patient outcome in the county.

“We make a difference.”