The Cabinet Office is providing £1.2m in grant funding to three charities contracted to offer services aimed at taking the pressure off the country’s busiest accident and emergency departments.
Age UK, Red Cross, and the Royal Voluntary Service will put in place 12-week projects in 29 areas. Projects include in home support to older people to prevent unnecessary admissions, and work in casualty to support medical teams to secure early discharge of patients who do not need admission.
There will also be support on wards, to secure early discharge of patients who do not need a bed for medical reasons.
In a statement on the initiative, Acevo chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb said too many hospital beds are occupied by people who need social care rather than medical attention.
“Patients will benefit from the unique charity offer: a mix of paid professional charity staff and trained volunteers helping improve outcomes in alliance with clinical professionals,” Sir Stephen said. "Over the next 12 weeks we’ll get hard evidence to show how charities can support the NHS for the long term. We’ll use the evidence to make sure charities become a long-term part of NHS plans.”