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Early Intervention plan boosts health & social care

People across Birmingham are reaping the benefits of a new integrated Early Intervention approach to health and social care. Early Intervention aims to support people to recover faster and live healthier and more independent lives, ideally at home.

The programme, rolled out in a phased approach over the last twelve months, prevents unnecessary hospital admissions and premature admissions to long-term residential care, averts delays in discharge from hospital and helps patients to remain as independent as possible in their own surroundings.

By easing pressure on the health and social care system, it is playing an integral role in the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The new programme also includes a dedicated COVID-19 pathway which ensures that people recovering from the virus can benefit from intensive rehabilitation support in their own surroundings.

To deliver a truly integrated service, seven health and social care organisations in the region have joined forces to deliver the programme. The partners include Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, Birmingham and Solihull CCG and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.

The impact of the programme is already being felt by people using the service which in its first year ending March 2021 is on track to:

• prevent around 3,650 unnecessary hospital admissions
• ensure that 26% of patients are more likely to go home when discharged than be admitted into long term care
• reduce the average length of hospital stay of patients requiring support after hospital from 12 to three days, a total saving of 77,000 days over a year
• make people more independent in their own home more quickly – records show that on average people now need six hours less health and social care per week

Delivering better outcomes for people has achieved £25m savings as at 30 July 2020 with a further £15m by 31 March 2021; a total of £40m since the roll out began.

Birmingham’s Early Intervention Lead and Birmingham Community Healthcare’s chief operating officer Chris Holt said: “The new integrated health and social care approach is very different to what has been provided for the people of Birmingham before.

“By bringing together health and social care to provide Early Intervention, we can provide truly holistic care which means we are better placed to meet the needs of the people in our care. We know that people prefer to recover in their own homes and do so more quickly. This new integrated approach, the first of its kind in Birmingham, helps us to work with our patients and service users to achieve that.”

The roll out was the culmination of an intensive four-month programme of testing across Birmingham following a review in 2018 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the system partners which highlighted where improvements could be made.

Balwinder Kaur, Assistant Director, Acute, Community and Social Work Operations for Adult Social Care in Birmingham City Council added: “More than 1,000 colleagues are now delivering the Early Intervention programme across the city. Not only are they helping to transform the delivery of health and social care in Birmingham through the alignment of these services, they have also risen to the challenge to support our system-wide response to COVID-19 and played a key role in keeping our patients safe during a challenging time.”

Early Intervention is part of the city’s wider Birmingham Older People’s Programme (BOPP), developed by Live Healthy, Live Happy, Birmingham and Solihull’s STP and the Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board.

Andrew McKirgan, Birmingham Lead for the BOPP and Chief Officer, Out of Hospital Services for UHB added, “The health and independence of older people is a priority for Birmingham. The timing of adopting this new integrated approach could not have been better as we geared up to respond to COVID-19.

“At a time of intense pressure on our health and social care system, the final component of the programme on particular, the Early Intervention Community Team, has played an invaluable role in ensuring that hospital and care home beds are there for those most in need, and those that are medically fit to return home, can do so with the right level of support, or can avoid a trip to hospital in the first place.” .

Watch here to find out how Early Intervention works in practice.


For further information contact Jennifer Chatham on (m) 07775 912818 or

Picture Caption: Margaret Court from Harborne in Birmingham is just one of the hundreds of people to benefit from the Early Intervention (EI) programme to date. Having had an accident at home and breaking her ankle, she was taken into hospital. Although she did not want to stay in hospital Margaret was admitted, but soon discharged after the Early Intervention multidisciplinary team agreed she was safe to return home with support from the new Early Intervention Community Team.

The new Early Intervention approach reduced Margaret’s length of stay in hospital and enabled her to return home safely, become independent and recover faster than she would have done by staying in hospital or going into long term care.

Notes to editors

• The five Early Intervention system areas include the Older Peoples Assessment and Liaison Team (OPAL), the Acute Hospital Hubs (Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Birmingham Heartlands Hospital), Mental Health Trust, EI Beds.
• The service is delivered through integrated teams of nurses, social workers, therapists and rehabilitation assistants.
• The EICT provides intermediate care in a person’s own home. The care and support typically involves therapy (occupational therapy or physiotherapy), personal care and an assessment of a person’s long-term health and/or social care needs.
• The EICT service is available seven days a week and can offer up to four calls a day.
• The EICT is eligible to anybody over 17 years or above, living within Birmingham Local Authority Residency and/or be a Birmingham and Solihull CCG Registrant and be medically stable for discharge.

• Referrals into the EICT can be made through four routes:

o primary care health and social care professionals, including GP’s, Paramedics and community social workers.
o OPAL services at the front door of acute hospitals
o Complex discharge hubs in hospitals
o Intermediate care beds in the community hospitals.